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TikTok to flag videos containing ‘unverified content’

By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

TikTok is to begin flagging videos containing content and claims which cannot be conclusively verified in its latest steps to combat misinformation.

The video-sharing app will place a banner over any such video, warning that it has been flagged for containing unverified content.

If a user then attempts to share the flagged video, they will be shown a prompt which asks them if they are sure they want to share it.

The platform said it hopes this will create a moment of reflection for users, ultimately seeing them decide against reposting unverified content.

TikTok confirmed the new tool will be used when its fact checks are inconclusive or details are not able to be confirmed, with a particular focus on content uploaded during unfolding events.

The feature went live in the United States and Canada on Wednesday and will apply in the UK from February 22.

Gina Hernandez, product manager for trust and safety at TikTok, said a key aim of the new feature is to encourage mindful sharing.

“People love sharing TikTok videos, whether within our platform or on others, and we hope this new feature will help our community to be more mindful about what they share,” she said.

“Being authentic is valued by our community, and we take the responsibility of helping counter inauthentic, misleading, or false content to heart.”

TikTok has previously introduced in-app notices which direct users to official sources for information on the coronavirus pandemic when they search for hashtags on the subject.

Social media companies have been under continuous pressure to do more to tackle the spread of misinformation on their platforms, particularly that linked to Covid-19 and the vaccine rollout, after a number of conspiracy theories gained traction online.

Ms Hernandez said in a blog post on the new flagging tool: “We remove misinformation as we identify it, and in the UK we now partner with Logically, a technology company with one of the world’s largest dedicated fact-checking teams, who are supporting our efforts to determine whether content shared on the platform is false, misleading or misinformation.

“If fact checks confirm content to be false, we’ll remove the video from our platform.”

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