Last month, TikTok updated its community guidelines to add policies that prohibit videos with misinformation about climate change on the app. As the daily beast Notes, the change goes into effect today, April 21. According to the service’s announcement, TikTok will no longer allow content that “undermines the well-established scientific consensus” regarding the climate crisis.
TikTok will still allow videos that address climate change debates, such as related government policies, as long as they don’t go against scientific consensus. However, it will start removing content that violates its new policy today, and any user searching for weather information will be directed to “authoritative information” that TikTok had decided on in partnership with the United Nations.
In 2022, NewsGuard’s trusted Internet researchers published a report on misinformation. They discovered that TikTok is full of false information on, among other things, climate change, and searching for the term brings up search suggestions such as “climate change debunked” and “climate change doesn’t exist.” During the height of the pandemic, searching for videos of COVID-19 would also return suggestions that include “covid-HIV vaccine.” Furthermore, misinformation was especially prevalent during the US presidential election season. TikTok ended up removing more than 300,000 election-related videos and more than 50,000 videos sharing misinformation about COVID-19.
When TikTok introduced its new policy on climate change, it also added new rules covering artificial intelligence technology that creates content. All digitally created or manipulated media on TikTok must now come with the proper label, such as “synthetic,” “fake,” or “altered.”