TikTok’s algorithm tends to offer far-right accounts affiliated with radical movements, according to a US study. The page ” For you “ would encourage its users, sometimes very young, to follow content that is however prohibited on the platform. A pattern that could lead them into an extremist spiral.
On TikTok, several universes coexist. From the world of make-up to the pro-LGBTQ + world, including humorous or solidarity content, users have access to a range of content as diverse as possible. Yet, according to a study conducted by Media Matters for America, the Chinese platform’s algorithm tends to push content from far-right movements or conspiracies. According to the elements collected by the American non-profit site, Media Matters for America, accounts promoting the movements QAnon, Patriot Party or even Oath Keepers and Three Percenters would be recommended for users. According to the report, these kinds of videos are still available on the ” For you “ or “For You” which selects TikTok videos after analyzing user tastes.
A radical spiral
“Our analysis revealed that by following the accounts suggested by TikTok, users can easily be increasingly exposed to extreme right-wing extremist accounts and content.”, indicates the report. This is all the more worrying given that users do not even have to do the research themselves, since it is TikTok that offers these suggestions for new accounts to follow.
Users of the platform, including many very young adolescents, can therefore find themselves in an extremist spiral that could push them to embrace these theses. According to Media Matter for America testing, following an account attached to the Three Percenter movement, TikTok will suggest a similar one. After several subscriptions of this kind of content, the user is offered accounts close to the Patriot Party, QAnon and other radical far-right movements.
Interviewed by Mashable, TikTok said: “TikTok is working aggressively to stop the spread of disinformation and violence, and we ban the promotion of QAnon and extremist groups, including Three Percenters, Patriot Party and Oath Keepers. We are also redirecting related searches and hashtags to our community guidelines to make this content harder to find ”.
Since that report, the accounts cited in it have been deleted, Mashable says.