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Misleading TikTok Profiles Disseminate False Information Regarding Russia-Ukraine Conflict to a Wide Audience

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Misleading TikTok Profiles Disseminate False Information Regarding Russia-Ukraine Conflict to a Wide Audience

In a recent report released on Wednesday, TikTok revealed that counterfeit accounts on its platform have disseminated disinformation regarding Russia’s war in Ukraine, reaching millions of users. The deceptive posts, which specifically targeted Ukrainian and Russian audiences, as well as individuals across Europe, were crafted to “artificially amplify pro-Russian narratives” concerning the conflict, according to the data provided by the Chinese social media giant.

Certain profiles were deceitfully portrayed as news organizations. An independent inquiry by the BBC, released on Friday, pinpointed 800 fraudulent accounts. These accounts allegedly disseminated misleading assertions across European nations, falsely asserting that high-ranking Ukrainian officials and their relatives had acquired luxury cars or villas abroad following Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

A representative from TikTok informed CNBC that the company had initiated an investigation into the accounts even before the BBC’s inquiry. They confirmed that all identified fake accounts had been promptly removed. In a statement, the spokesperson emphasized the platform’s unwavering commitment to pursuing individuals engaging in deceptive behaviors that aim to influence its community, stating, “We constantly and relentlessly pursue those that seek to influence its community through deceptive behaviors.”

TikTok identified the bulk of the counterfeit accounts, approximately 13,000 in number, as originating from within Russia. These accounts were actively promoting Kremlin war propaganda in local languages, targeting audiences in Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Serbia, Czechia, Poland, and Greece.

Nevertheless, some of the recognized accounts were managed from within Ukraine and were discovered to be “artificially amplifying narratives aiming to raise money for the Ukrainian military.” TikTok reported that the collective followers of these deceptive accounts surpassed one million. It’s worth noting that videos shared on the platform typically reach audiences in the millions.

The recent statistics complement earlier accounts of counterfeit pro-Russia profiles pinpointed by TikTok, marking an escalation in the platform’s self-disclosure efforts amidst global calls for social media platforms to combat fraudulent users and disinformation. This development comes a week after the United Kingdom accused Russia of engaging in a prolonged “campaign of malicious cyber activity” targeting politicians, civil servants, and journalists, with the intent of undermining British democracy.

About Vijendra

Vijendra
Vijendra has a master’s degree in Marketing and editor with passion. Exploring economic policies of different economies and analyzing geo-politics policies is of keen interest. In his free time he is a hardcore metal-rock and punk music fanatic.

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