After launching the feature as a test in some particularly sensitive countries (Ukraine, Russia and Belarus), TikTok is about to expand the government media labels in over 40 countries. The platform will report whether a particular information account is under the control of a specific government.
The countermeasure was introduced last year in the war-affected territories, where spreading fake news is one of the many tools governments use to convey the narrative about the ongoing war.
The company has now announced that, after an initial phase of testing, the feature is rolling out to 40 new markets. However, it has not been reported whether Italy is among these.
How TikTok’s “government media” labels will work
As we’ve already seen in Ukraine and Russia, labels will tend to signal to users whether a given news account belongs to a state-owned media outlet. Over the past year, TikTok has branded several Russian and other agencies as government media, such as RT, RIA Novosti e TASS. In this way, the aim is to maximize the attention on fake news related to politics.
TikTok has assured the media that if they are improperly labeled, they can appeal at any time. In that case the media will have to provide evidence of its editorial independence. All the material will then be analyzed by a team of external experts hired by TikTok.
This countermeasure comes after, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the platform was literally flooded with content reporting fake news about the war. Videos and information often without context and sources. With this maneuver, TikTok joins what has already been done by several western giants. Platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have already introduced similar labels. More radical was the maneuver by Reddit, which simply banned the Russian media from its platform.