More than ten dozen of the most-viewed videos on TikTok include hate speech, incitement, and political disinformation a report by Odanga Madun states.
According to the report, TikTok is heavily responsible for misinformation causing political tensions in Kenya ahead of the general elections in August.
Madung, who is a fellow of The Mozilla Foundation, a nonpartisan charitable organization that fights against misinformation and lack of transparency in online political and election-related messaging, claims the short video platform has moved from a “Dance App” to a “Political Mercenary”.
Madung reports that “130 videos” which came from 33 accounts have been viewed collectively over 4 million times.
Madung’s report covered content that had “popular political hashtags, names of political candidates, key locations, political parties, and ethnic communities”. His report found that most of the videos included coded language and derogatory terms (like madoadoa), which are flagged as hate speech in the country and banned by Kenyan National Cohesion and Integration Commission.
“Kenya’s democracy carries a tainted past of post-election violence. Now, political disinformation on TikTok – in violation of the platform’s own policies – is stirring up this highly volatile political landscape. Meanwhile, TikTok has shown it is incapable of addressing this problem,” he states.
Madung’s believes TikTok’s algorithmic amplified the content. “Many of the videos are getting outsized viewership in comparison to their followership and according to researchers, this suggests that the content may be gaining amplification from TikTok’s For You Page algorithm.”
“TikTok’s demographic is much younger and it worries me because they don’t have the levels of political maturity or a clear value base that may allow them to sift through such information,” Irungu Houghton, the executive director at Amnesty international, was quoted as saying in the Mozilla report.