TikTok announces measures to combat misinformation, hate speech ahead of Pakistan elections


TikTok has announced measures to combat misinformation, violence and hate speech to uphold election integrity in Pakistan as the South Asian country heads to the polls on February 8.

The video sharing platform widely embraced by millions of Pakistanis has faced backlash within the conservative part of the South Asian society. In recent years, Pakistani courts have prohibited the platform, citing its perceived negative effects on the younger generation.

In a press statement released on Tuesday, the platform says it has put robust measures in place to combat misinformation, violence, and hate speech in line with its community guidelines. It says it’s available in English and Urdu.

“The platform is dedicated to removing misleading information about civic processes, including voter registration, candidate eligibility, ballot counting, and election results,” it stated.

TikTok said its policies prohibit content that intimidates voters, suppresses voting, or incites violence, adding that it has deployed over 40,000 personnel globally to ensure user safety on the platform.

The platform said it works with local and regional fact-checkers that help it to remove election misinformation accurately. 

“Content 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,” TikTok said.

TikTok added its “Pakistan Election Center” hub will direct users to information on the national polls, including voting procedures and locations. 

It explained that it has designated policies for accounts that belong to a government, politician, or political party, removing their ability to give or receive money through advertising, fundraising, or TikTok monetization tools.

“Recognizing that global events often influence creative expression, TikTok remains dedicated to supporting its community in Pakistan and worldwide,” it stated.

According to a World Economic Forum (WEF) survey, information disorder is the second biggest risk to global economy and could undermine democracy and polarize society.

“Societies could become further polarized as people find it harder to verify facts, Fake information also could be used to fuel questions about the legitimacy of elected governments, which means that democratic processes could be eroded, and it would also drive societal polarization even further,” Carolina Klint, a risk management leader at Marsh, whose parent company Marsh McLennan co-authored the report with Zurich Insurance Group, said.

As many countries hold elections this year, misinformation and disinformation enhanced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated content could disrupt and alter voting results and mar election integrity.

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Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.


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