TikTok & Facebook Ads Still Spreading Misinformation Recent Study Finds Both Platforms Approving Ads

author image Written by: Julia Cashion           Categories - Digital Marketing, In The News, Social Media

Remember a couple of months ago when TikTok said they were rolling out a political fundraising campaign ban? Many U.S policymakers voiced concerns about the mounting volume of political misinformation on the app.

Read More: TikTok Is Cracking Down On Political Campaigns

For TikTok, it looks like those concerns went in one ear and out the other. The mega-popular platform is still approving ads that contain political misinformation, and they aren’t alone in this. Facebook has been accused of the same posting practices. Making both social platforms in the position of violating ad policies.

The Report That Revealed It All

TikTok was already under the microscope for promoting political misinformation, and we all know Facebook’s history with fake news. So it’s no surprise researchers caught them red-handed.

The Cybersecurity for Democracy (C4D) team at NYU alongside Global Witness Group have been keeping tabs on TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube. They published a report looking at the platforms “ability to detect and remove election disinformation in the run-up to the US midterm elections.”

Read More: TikTok Announces New Program For Ads

Content Manager Andrew Hutchinson says “in order to test the ad approval processes for each platform, the researchers submitted 20 ads each, via dummy accounts, to YouTube, Facebook and TikTok.”

Inaccurate information about voting, specifically how to vote and inaccurate voting procedures like voting by mail, were all present in the ads submitted, the report summary states.

Here are the main findings of the report:

  • Facebook endorsed two of the deceptive English ads and five of the Spanish ads.
  • All advertisements were approved by TikTok, with the exception of two (one in English and one in Spanish)
  • All advertisements on YouTube were disabled.

Based on these findings, Facebook and TikTok should have some responses to make.

How TikTok and Facebook Responded To Accusations

Now that this report has everyone’s attention, Facebook’s response appears to be trying to assure users that misinformation is not welcome on the app.

Content Manager Andrew Hutchinson notes Meta’s response to the report below:

“These reports were based on a very small sample of ads. They aren’t representative given the number of political ads we review daily across the world. Our ads review process has several layers of analysis and detection, both before and after an ad goes live. We invest significant resources to protect elections, from our industry-leading transparency efforts to our enforcement of strict protocols on ads about social issues, elections, or politics – and we will continue to do so.”

TikTok seems to have acknowledged the feedback and says that it should help with their misinformation policies.

Regardless YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok have some changes to make. This recent data, namely for TikTok might increase worries about how the platform might be used for political influence. Additionally, it can raise more concerns about any possible links to the Chinese government.

Julia Cashion

TikTok Unveils New Tools to Enhance Organic Reach


Exciting news, TikTok creators!

On February 8, 2023, TikTok revealed its latest game-changer – Promote. This new feature packs a punch with its targeting and boosting capabilities, making it a breeze for you to turn your TikTok videos into impactful ads.

What Does Promote Do?

With just a few taps, you can now reach your desired audience, drive traffic to your profile, maximize your marketing budget, and even turn viewers into potential leads.

Read More: TikTok’s New Option For More Brand Deals

Whether you’re an influencer, advertiser, brand, or small business, Promote is here to help you soar to new heights on TikTok!

It’s a sign that creators like you now have even more ways to elevate your videos on the platform.

With the recent controversy surrounding TikTok’s “heating” button, these new tools give you even more control over your content and how it reaches your target audience.

So, go ahead and choose how you want to interact with your ads and make a lasting impact on the TikTok community!

Read More: TikTok’s Data Security Problems In The US

The New Features

With the new “More Profile Views” goal, you can drive traffic directly to your TikTok profile and reach a wider audience. And the “Promote for Others” option allows you to boost content, influencers, or partners, helping increase their views and reach.

Additionally, with the new location targeting option, small businesses with physical locations can now directly target their local community.

Read More: TikTok & Facebook Ads Still Spreading Misinformation

And last but not least, the “More Messages” goal enables small businesses to drive traffic directly to their TikTok inbox, providing more opportunities for customer interaction and sales.

These features are sure to take your TikTok marketing to the next level!

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Twitter’s Blue Checkmark Dilemma


Twitter’s recent overhaul, helmed by Elon Musk, has brought about several changes to the platform, but none as problematic as the updates to the verification system.

What’s The Deal With Checkmarks

The platform now essentially allows anyone to purchase a blue checkmark, giving the illusion of legitimacy, which has become a playground for scammers and spammers. Twitter’s solution is to suspend such accounts once detected, while also hinted at new measures for confirming user identities in the Twitter Blue sign-up process.

However, there is no real checking process in place, with the platform relying on “payment verification”. The idea is that bot accounts won’t be able to pay for the subscription, thus, won’t be able to sign up for Twitter Blue, or it’ll be increasingly expensive for them to do so.

Read More: Twitter Blue: A Blue Tick Or A Blue Flop?

Unfortunately, this hasn’t proven to be a real deterrent. In recent months, various Twitter Blue-subscribed profiles were identified as using AI-generated profile images, yet were approved for the program.

Some of these accounts push specific political agendas, while others spread false information. This has opened the door for potential manipulation and deception within the new Twitter checkmark process.

Boxes Aren’t Being Ticked

Despite Twitter’s pledge to add a manual checking process for all Twitter Blue applicants, this hasn’t happened. The blue checkmark adds a level of legitimacy to accounts in-stream, which is the whole lure of the offering.

For a monthly fee of $8, users can be viewed on the same level as celebrities and stars, solidifying their presence and status on the platform. However, without proper checks in place, it remains problematic. Twitter is trying to counter impersonation problems by adding new badges and variations, but it’s becoming increasingly cluttered and confusing.

Read More: Twitter Is Rolling Out Adjacency Controls

The company is also expanding these badges to all approved staff of approved companies within the app, which includes a new description panel to explain why the user has a blue checkmark.

They’re also working on a new indicator to show when a profile has confirmed its ID through their system.

This should be a requirement for approval for a blue tick, and it’s hard to see how this is a better system than the previous process, where there was a clearer understanding of what a blue tick meant.

Despite the controversies, around 300,000 Twitter users have signed up for the new Twitter Blue, generating $2.4 million per month for the company, or $7.2 million per quarter.

However, this only equates to 0.12% of Twitter’s user base, and Elon and his team still have a long way to go in convincing people to pay $8 a month to use the app.

So What’s To Come?

The updated Twitter verification system is still a mess, and it’s not likely to generate enough revenue to justify the extra work required to add proper checks and maintenance.

Read More: New Process For Twitter Community Notes

However, Twitter is pushing ahead, and it’s hard to see Elon backtracking on the system now.

Here’s what he tweeted recently:

With more incentives and actual human checking in the verification process, it could still become a relevant and important consideration.

But for now, it remains far from perfect.

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