TikTok Boosts Transparency and Limits State Media Influence

Juan Carlos Torres


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In response to ongoing scrutiny over potential Chinese Government influence on its operations, TikTok has released an updated transparency report. This new report aims to provide more detailed insights into detected influence operations removed from the platform. Additionally, TikTok is revising its rules to curtail the reach of state-affiliated media accounts attempting to sway communities beyond their home nations.

Previously, TikTok's transparency reports offered generalized overviews of its actions. The platform's enhanced transparency report now includes specific, case-by-case breakdowns of each detected group and the scale of their operations.

For example, the updated report provides detailed information on the number of profiles in each detected group, their cumulative followers, and a brief description of each group's intentions. TikTok hopes that this move will bolster confidence in its efforts to maintain transparency and accountability.

"In the first four months of 2024, we disrupted 15 influence operations and removed 3,001 associated accounts. We found that a majority of these networks were trying to sway political discourse among their target audience, including in relation to elections. For instance, we thwarted a network aiming at an Indonesian audience ahead of the country's presidential elections and another focusing on the UK by artificially amplifying narratives about the UK's domestic political discourse," TikTok stated.

Interestingly, TikTok's new report even provides disclosures about influence operations originating from China. This could offer some reassurance that TikTok operates independently of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). While other major platforms like Meta, Microsoft, and Google have also reported larger Chinese-based networks, TikTok's disclosures might signal a significant step towards transparency.

However, skepticism remains. Some may perceive TikTok's disclosures as an attempt to foster an impression of independence from the CCP. Comparing the scale of influence operations detected on other platforms to what TikTok reports could elicit further scrutiny. Since China-based groups are already highly active on other apps, the suspicion arises that they might similarly be using TikTok for deliberate messaging.

In addition to the enhanced transparency reports, TikTok is also refining its state-affiliated media policy. Accounts detected as state-affiliated are already labeled as such on the platform. Now, TikTok will also restrict these accounts' reach when they try to expand their influence beyond their nation’s borders.