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New Findings Reveal How TikTok Has Trapped Russian Users in a Propaganda Echo Chamber

Social media companies quickly scrambled to make the required adjustments to their algorithms and platforms not long after Russia invaded Ukraine. Quick action was necessary because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up mitigating the spread of misinformation which can often be inevitable whenever two countries go to war with one another. TikTok was no different, quickly blocking Russian accounts from making any new posts to stem the flow of potential misinformation.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that TikTok also initiated another policy that it has not been quite so open about. This policy involves blocking any and all outside content from reaching users that are residing within Russia. That might have something to do with the Russian government’s recent law regarding fake news which was used to ban Facebook and other platforms in order to prevent their citizens from getting a balanced view of what was going on.

Based on this policy, it seems that TikTok is taking a different approach by attempting to appease the government. This policy is decidedly harmful since it can lock all Russian TikTok users into an echo chamber with all things having been considered and taken into account. The research company Tracking Exposed revealed this policy, and they have shown how various pro-Russian accounts were spreading vast amounts of propaganda that only Russian users were able to see, which indicates that the ban on Russian accounts posting new content was not as intensive as the company made it out to be.

This just goes to show how a platform can end up making misinformation even more widespread than it currently is. TikTok has not responded to these claims as of yet, and there are some that are suggesting that these policies are the byproduct of the Chinese government’s lax reaction to the invasion. Such claims are yet to be proven, but the existence of these platform sanctioned echo chambers are concerning to say the least.


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