TikTok Expands State-Affiliated Media Policies, Issues Updated Transparency Report

As the app faces a potential ban in the United States due to accusations of sharing sensitive user data with the Chinese Communist Party, TikTok has expanded its policies surrounding the restriction of state-affiliated media accounts, while also issuing an updated transparency report in which it provides information on what the company is doing to combat covert influence operations.

The company's new transparency report provides a more granular approach than in previous years, including case-by-case profiles of each detected group, as well as the size and impact of their operation.

“In the first four months of 2024, we disrupted 15 influence operations and removed 3,001 associated accounts,” the company states. “We found that a majority of these networks were attempting to influence political discourse among their target audience, including in relation to elections.”

According to TikTok, the company disrupted a network targeting an Indonesian audience ahead of the country's presidential elections earlier this year, and another targeting the U.K. by artificially amplifying narratives about the U.K.’s domestic political discourse.



Included in its assessment are groups based in China as well. The report shows that in February 2024, TikTok uncovered 16 accounts with a total of 110,161 followers linked to a group operating from China and targeting a U.S. audience.

“The individuals behind this network created unauthentic accounts in order to artificially amplify positive narratives of China, including support for the People’s Republic of China policy decisions and strategic objectives, as well as general promotion of Chinese culture. This network utilized accounts impersonating high-profile U.S. creators and celebrities in an attempt to build an audience,” the report reads.

In addition to these insights, the ByteDance-owned company is updating its state-affiliated media policies to restrict the reach of state-affiliated groups labeled in the app.

TikTok says it will work with “independent external experts” to assess these accounts, and will make the accounts that attempt to reach communities outside of their home country ineligible for recommendation.

“In addition, over the coming weeks, if these accounts advertise on our platform, they will not be allowed to advertise outside of the country with which they are primarily affiliated,” the company says.

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