TikTok issues election integrity measures ahead of Feb 8 polls

Pakistan has witnessed a significant surge in both the use and reach of social media platforms in the country, which are likely to play a key role in shaping the masses’ views ahead of the February 8 polls.

Political parties in the country have been avidly using their social media platforms to boost their reach and disseminate their narrative, however, this comes with the risk of potential misuse.

In a move aimed at addressing this very issue, popular video-sharing platform TikTok has issued its “election integrity measures” to reassure of its robust measures that have been put in place to combat misinformation, violence, and hate speech in line with the platform’s community guidelines — available in both English and Urdu languages.

Disinformation and fake news have plagued various elections around the world, however, the platform has reassured that it would be removing misleading information about civic processes, including voter registration, candidate eligibility, ballot counting, and election results.

With its 40,000 personnel who are assigned to ensure user safety via the use of advanced technology while collaborating with intelligence firms, TikTok has assured that the platform strictly prohibits content that intimidates voters, suppresses voting, or incites violence.

To address the scourge of misinformation, the platform works with local and regional fact-checkers to help the platform consistently and accurately remove election misinformation, whereas the content that is under review or identified as unsubstantiated, is restricted from the For You Feed recommendation, and both viewers and creators are alerted about the potential misleading nature of such content.

“A significant element of TikTok’s strategy is the launch of the Pakistan Election Centre on the platform, available both in English and Urdu. This hub will direct users to authoritative information on the election, including voting procedures and locations.

“Recognising that global events often influence creative expression, TikTok remains dedicated to supporting its community in Pakistan and worldwide,” the statement from the company read.

Furthermore, the platform has enforced policies against political advertisements as it has a separate designated set of rules for accounts belonging to a government, politician, or political party.

Some notable features of TikTok’s election integrity rules are as follows:

Content removal
The platform removes content that violates its community guidelines which includes disinformation or misinformation that harms individuals or the public at large.

It includes false claims instilling distrust regarding public institutions, such as claims of voter fraud, content that misrepresents the date of an election, attempts to intimidate voters or suppress voting etc.

Redirection of search results, hashtags
TikTok also redirects hashtags and search results to its community guidelines including terms linked to hate speech, incitement to violence, disinformation around voter fraud and others.

Limit content discoverability
Reduce the discoverability of content by, for example, rerouting search results or disqualifying it from being recommended to users in their “For You” feeds.

This feature caters to examined content that makes unfounded claims, like a hasty declaration of victory before the results, conjecture regarding a candidate’s health, assertions concerning polling places on election day etc.

No more live streaming
Violation of TikTok’s community guidelines via streaming content that seeks to incite violence or promote hateful ideologies, conspiracies, or disinformation may result in that user being unable to use the live-streaming feature in future.

Account ban
Accounts that repeatedly violate the platform’s guidelines and are found to be committed to disseminating false information about the upcoming election will be blocked.


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