TikTok is pushing back on critics who claim the video app is falling short in its content moderation duties amid the Israel-Hamas war. In a statement, the company offered new details about the number of accounts and videos it has taken down since the October 7th attacks by Hamas.
According to TikTok, it removed more than 925,000 videos “in the conflict region” and millions more “pieces of content” from around the world. The company also said it’s experienced “spikes in fake engagement” in recent weeks. “Since Oct. 7, we've removed more than 24 million fake accounts globally and more than half a million bot comments on content under hashtags related to the conflict.”
The new details come as TikTok has faced increasing scrutiny over how its app is recommending content related to the ongoing conflict. According to NBC News, some lawmakers have recently stepped up their calls for the app to be banned amid allegations that TikTok’s algorithm is disproportionately promoting pro-Palestinian content. In its update, TikTok said that such claims were based on “unsound analysis” of its data.
“Unfortunately, some misinformed commentators have mischaracterized our work to prevent the spread of hate speech and misinformation surrounding the crisis in Israel and Gaza, especially as it relates to antisemitism,” the company said. “Over the last few days, there has been unsound analysis of TikTok hashtag data around the conflict, causing some commentators to falsely insinuate TikTok is pushing pro-Palestine content over pro-Israel content to U.S. users.” The company added that, in the United States, the hashtag #standwithisrael had been viewed 46 million times since October 7, while #standwithpalestine had been viewed 29 million times.
TikTok isn’t the only platform to face increasing scrutiny over its moderation policies as tensions surrounding the conflict spill over onto social media platforms. Meta has faced accusations that it “shadowbanned” Instagram accounts that posted about conditions within Gaza, which it attributed to a “bug.” X, formerly known as Twitter, is dealing with a European Union investigation into its handling of misinformation related to the conflict.