TikTok shut down 2 networks of pro-Russian influencers who tried to mislead users about the war in Ukraine

  • TikTok discovered two pro-Russian TikToker networks last year, according to a TikTok report released Thursday.
  • Most of these accounts were from Russia but pretended to be in Europe.
  • They used speech synthesis software to spread pro-Russian propaganda in various languages.

TikTok said it shut down two coordinated networks of about 1,700 pro-Russian influencers who tried to use the platform to mislead Europeans about the war in Ukraine.

According to a report released by TikTok on Thursday, most of the accounts were from Russia but pretended to be in Europe.

The accounts used speech synthesis software, a platform-based tool that converts text to artificial speech, to amplify pro-Russian propaganda in multiple languages ​​and primarily to users in Germany, Italy and the UK.

The accounts amassed more than 133,000 followers before TikTok identified and deleted them between July and September last year.

This information was revealed in a report that analyzed data on TikTok’s operations in Europe from mid-June to mid-December. It was drafted in accordance with the 2022 European Union Code of Practice on Disinformation, which aims to counter online content that is harmful but not necessarily illegal.

TikTok has previously been criticized for facilitating the spread of misinformation online among its large Gen Z audience. Last year, a study by disinformation monitor NewsGuard found that one in five search results on TikTok contained misinformation.

In its report, TikTok said that Russia’s “war of aggression” in Ukraine “has forced us to confront a complex and rapidly changing environment.”

He said he had invested in efforts to counter malicious disinformation since the outbreak of the war last February, such as using native speakers of Russian and Ukrainian to moderate content.

In a blog post that accompanied the report, TikTok’s director of public policy, Caroline Greer, said the platform was able to help find innovative solutions to these “longstanding industry problems.”

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