Tech

TikTok Pledges To Fight Political Misinformation, Foreign Interference Ahead Of 2020 Election

(LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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TikTok pledged to stop the spread of online misinformation and potential foreign interference ahead of the November election.

The Chinese short form video app is updating its policies in an effort to tackle misleading content, and intends on bolstering fact checking process to “verify election-related misinformation,” TikTok noted in a blog post Wednesday. The company is also allowing people the opportunity to report falsehoods.

TikTok is also working with the Department of Homeland Security to “protect against foreign interference,” the company’s blog post noted. The DHS and the State Department joined the Pentagon in prohibiting staff from using TikTok on government-issued devices, the Washington Times reported in January.

“While TikTok isn’t the go-to app to follow news or politics, we’re focused on supporting our users with education and authoritative information on important public issues,” Vanessa Pappas, the general manager of TikTok, wrote in the blog. The app’s post comes less than a week after President Donald Trump expressed a desire to ban the app over national security concerns.

A resident unfurls the Chinese national flag from his building window in front of the US consulate in Chengdu, southwestern China's Sichuan province, on July 26, 2020. - The Chengdu mission was ordered shut in retaliation for the forced closure of Beijing's consulate in Houston, Texas, with both sides alleging the other had endangered national security. (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

A resident unfurls the Chinese national flag from his building window in front of the US consulate in Chengdu (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” the president told reporters while aboard Air Force One, CNN reported August 1. “I have that authority,” he added.

Trump suggested on Aug. 3 that he is amenable to the idea of Microsoft purchasing the upstart Chinese company, so long as the acquisition comes by Sept. 15.

Trump also wants a slice of the profits from a potential sale to go to the United States Treasury. (RELATED: TikTok Could Become A Powerful Propaganda Tool If It Stays With China, Experts Warn)

“I did say that ‘If you buy it…a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States, because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen.’ Right now they don’t have any rights unless we give it to them,” the president told reporters on Aug. 3 at the White House, referring to the potential sale.

National security experts and government officials warn that TikTok, Huawei, and other Chinese tech companies are risks to the U.S.

Americans should download the app “only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a July 7 Fox News interview.

U.S. officials have so far not revealed direct evidence that TikTok is providing personal user data to the Chinese Communist Party.

There are signs of political involvement on TikTok.

TikTok users coordinated an effort to get people who didn’t intend on attending a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa sign up for it, CNN reported in June.

One TikTok post urging fans of Korean pop to sign up for the June rally received over 100,000 likes. Mary Jo Laupp, a 51-year-old woman in Iowa, reportedly kickstarted the troll campaign.

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