ByteDance owned social media platform, TikTok, has announced that it will increase efforts to combat misinformation and covert influence operations in the run up to European Parliament elections in June.

The company plans to introduce a local language app, named Election Centres, in each of the 27 EU member states.

This initiative builds upon TikTok’s groundwork in addressing misinformation initiated in 2021, with significant acceleration during national elections in Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, and Spain in 2023.

The primary objective of the app is to better educate European users about the electoral process, enabling them to distinguish between factual information and misinformation.

Expressing concern about the global spread of misinformation and the use of AI-generated deepfakes to manipulate elections, governments and politicians worldwide are closely monitoring the role of social media platforms in shaping public opinion.

Approximately a third of European Parliament lawmakers are active TikTok users, according to the company.

Kevin Morgan, TikTok’s head of trust & safety for EMEA, said the aim of the Election Centres app is to facilitate easy access to trustworthy and authoritative information.

Collaborating with local electoral commissions and civil society organisations, TikTok intends to create a dedicated space where its community can obtain reliable information.

Currently working with nine fact-checking organisations in Europe, TikTok plans to expand its fact-checking network and initiate nine additional media literacy campaigns in the coming year.

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Earlier this week, the EU launched a public consultation on draft election security mitigations in the hopes of tackling risks associated with AI and deepfakes.

The proposed recommendations encompass a comprehensive approach, addressing content moderation resourcing, service integrity, transparency in political ads and media literacy.

TikTok is set to introduce dedicated reports on covert influence operations in the coming months.

This measure aims to address concerns about the potential manipulation of information during election periods.

Yesterday (13 Feb), US President Joe Biden’s campaign joined TikTok, despite the social media platform being banned on most government phones due to security concerns. 

The chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that he was concerned about Biden’s decision to join TikTok, which has been banned in the US state of Montana.