Foreign interference in U.S. elections? Chinese Communist Party-linked TikTok launched an in-app Elections Center in the lead-up to the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.
On Aug. 17, TikTok released a statement detailing, “Our commitment to election integrity.” TikTok described its new Elections Center, with “authoritative” resources in 45 languages, including live election reports and information about “who and what” is on the ballot provided by Ballotpedia. TikTok will also label content across its platform related to the midterm elections, allowing users “to click through” to the Elections Center.
This comes as the U.S. House of Representatives’ Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor just issued a “cyber advisory” on TikTok, labeling the app “high-risk” because of China’s access to personal data on it.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-tied ByteDance, also stated it would ban so-called “election misinformation, harassment - including that directed towards election workers - hateful behavior, and violent extremism.”
TikTok explained that alleged “election misinformation” spurred the creation of the in-app Elections Center. “Providing access to authoritative information is an important part of our overall strategy to counter election misinformation,” TikTok claimed.
The new center also involves collaborations with the Center for Democracy in Deaf America, the Federal Voting Assistance Program, Campus Vote Project and Restore Your Vote, which describes itself as an organization that helps convicted criminals determine their voting eligibility, according to TikTok.
TikTok claimed that any action requiring the sharing of information, like registering to vote, would direct users away from the platform and therefore it would not have access to people’s personal data. “We'll have more to share in the coming weeks, including some further steps we're taking regarding political accounts on TikTok as we work to foster an authentic environment for our community,” the TikTok statement concluded.
TikTok has a history of targeting conservatives with censorship, including banning MRCTV.
And the creation of the elections center is not the only anti-election “misinformation” action TikTok has taken. The platform recently banned influencers from posting paid political content. TikTok recently came under fire after it was revealed that Chinese ByteDance employees had direct access to TikTok U.S. user data.
TikTok’s announcement of the Elections Center came only three days after The New York Times pressured the app to increase its censorship in a piece titled, “On TikTok, Election Misinformation Thrives Ahead of Midterms.” The Times’s Tiffany Hsu claimed, “TikTok is shaping up to be a primary incubator of baseless and misleading information,” citing pro-Trump content as trivial as the #StoptheSteal hashtag.
The Times previously pushed Meta (Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg to increase censorship of so-called “election misinformation” as well. Facebook and Twitter have also recently announced they will censor so-called election “misinformation.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact TikTok via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment and provide transparency. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.