Ireland
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TikTok dismantles operation that targeted Irish users with 'divisive views' on nationalism

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM TikTok dismantled a “covert influence operation” that targeted users in Ireland with “divisive views” on nationalism in an attempt to “intensify social conflict”, the company has confirmed.

In total, 72 accounts were found to be part of the network – all of which were removed from the platform earlier this year.

Some 94,743 users were following the 72 accounts in question.

TikTok confirmed the figures in a report sent to the European Commission.

A new code of conduct agreement requires technology companies to make the EC aware of levels of disinformation on their platforms and efforts to combat it.

In the report, which covers the first half of 2023, TikTok noted that this particular covert network “targeted Irish audiences”.

“The individuals behind this network created inauthentic accounts; hyper-posted content with divisive views related to nationalism in Ireland, Japan, Russia, and Taiwan; and hyper-posted comments with similar low-quality content in an attempt to redirect TikTok users off-platform and to intensify social conflict,” the report notes.

Meta

Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, was also among the companies to send a report to the European Commission.

Meta confirmed that over 1,100,000 pieces of content on Facebook in Ireland were treated with fact checks due to “violating assessment by third party fact checkers” between 1 January and 31 December.

During the same period, over 92,000 items of content were treated with fact checks on Instagram in Ireland.

The number of unique pieces of content that were removed from Facebook and Instagram in Ireland respectively for violating European Union policies on harmful health misinformation or voter or census interference were ‘over 960′ and ‘less than 500′.

The overall number of ads removed on Facebook and Instagram in Ireland combined in the first six months of the year was over 63,000, however less than 500 ads were removed from the platforms for violating Meta’s misinformation policy in the EU.

In its report to the EC, Meta stated that its ad review process “may include the specific components of an ad, such as images, video, text and targeting information, as well as an ad’s associated landing page or other destinations, among other information”.

“More specifically, once fact-checking partners have determined that a piece of content contains misinformation, we use technology to identify identical and near-identical versions across Facebook. If we find ads that are identical or near identical to content fact-checkers have rated, we reject them,” the report notes.

X, formerly known as Twitter, withdrew from the European Commission code of conduct, but the EC said the platform has the highest rate of misinformation on social media platforms.