May 29, 2024

TikTok Shuts Secret Operation to Stir up Social Conflict in Ireland

TikTok recently found out about a  to stir up social conflict in Ireland using the popular video-sharing platform. The covert influence operation network, which comprised 72 accounts, has since been shut down by the company.

“The individuals behind this network created inauthentic accounts; hyper-posted content with divisive views related to nationalism in Ireland, Japan, Russia, and Taiwan; and hyper-posted comments with similar low-quality content in an attempt to redirect TikTok users off-platform and to intensify social conflict” – TikTok stated, talking about the operation.

Tiktok’s Focus On Removing Covert Influence

This isn’t the first time that TikTok has made a move to eliminate covert influence networks on the platform. Previously, the company has taken similar steps against such operations in Germany, Russia, and Poland.

Though its parent company, ByteDance, is based in China, TikTok is a signatory of an EU code of practice that aims to fight disinformation and misinformation on the internet.

TikTok removed 2,165 videos for violating the platform’s harmful misinformation policy.

In a detailed report sent to the European Commission, TikTok shared a video detailing its efforts to find and remove the accounts associated with the covert influence operation in Ireland.

The report, which covers the timespan from January to June 2023, highlights that the network targeted Irish audiences.

The company also went on to add that from March to June this year, it has removed 67,013 fake accounts in Ireland. These accounts had a combined following of 296,274 users.

TikTok prevented as many as 26,034,349 fake follow attempts and removed 218,158 fake followers on accounts in Ireland during the first half of 2023, the company revealed in the report. Furthermore, 144 TikTok accounts in Ireland were banned for impersonation.

In the age of social media, popular platforms like TikTok have become powerful tools for those seeking to stir up conflict and unrest. Active tackling of such threats, such as the shutting down of the covert information operations by TikTok, is becoming increasingly crucial.

TikTok’s Dark Influence Is A Growing Cause Of Concern For The Authorities

In this regard, anti-social behavior encouraged by TikTok frenzies is a growing concern for law enforcement authorities. Teachers’ unions have been warned about the platform’s dark influence, too. Inappropriate engagement on the platform has resulted in both criminal activities and the disruption of investigations.

The interference of the public in a police investigation into the disappearance of Nicola Bulley not only hindered the investigation but also added to the woes of the victim’s kin. In another instance, excessive online obsession over the murder of four students in Idaho, US, resulted in innocent people being falsely accused.

While TikTok has its positive influences, too, the rise of such online frenzies is posing a challenge for law enforcement and educational institutions alike. 

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