December 6, 2023

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TikTok: “The algorithm does not favor Palestinians, and our teenage users support Palestine”

TikTok: “The algorithm does not favor Palestinians, and our teenage users support Palestine”

The popular youth platform is under fire from Republicans, conservative media and… parents for promoting pro-Palestinian material, with TikTok responding by calling “teens pro-Palestine.”

The TikTok application has been subjected to severe criticism from much of the American media and the Republican Party in recent weeks after the application witnessed an increase in pro-Palestinian content following the start of the Israeli military bombing campaign on Gaza.

It seems that American teenagers do not watch traditional media, but rather watch short videos of the people of Palestine with interest

Republican politicians, with support from the media, have publicly claimed that the company is promoting pro-Palestinian content aimed at “brainwashing our youth” into supporting Hamas.

Content is not rewarded by the algorithm

The company reported to press release The spread of pro-Palestinian content on TikTok is not due to the app’s algorithm. But he said teens simply tend to be more supportive of Palestine.

The statement said: “Young people’s attitudes were leaning towards Palestine long before TikTok existed.”

“Support for Israel has been at an all-time low among young Americans for some time. This is proven by looking at Gallup polling data on millennials dating back to 2010, long before TikTok even existed.

Data linked to the statement indicate that sympathy for Israel is consistently positive among older generations, but millennials are evenly divided, with 42% liking Palestine more and 40% liking Israel more.

It’s a matter of quantity, TikTok says

According to TikTok in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, millions of residents account for a large percentage of hashtag views. “So there’s more content with #freepalestine and #standwithpalestine and more overall views. It’s easy to co-opt hashtags to support a false narrative about the platform.”

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As the Chinese platform explains: “Furthermore, the number of videos linked to the hashtag alone does not provide sufficient context. For example, #standwithIsrael may be associated with fewer videos than #freePalestine, but it has 68% more views per video in the US, meaning more people are watching the content.

Comparison of the hashtags #freepalestine and #standwithisrael on the three most popular platforms.

In contrast, Facebook and Instagram are widely accused of Shadowban – what is it?

More Instagram but also Facebook and both Meta Mark Zuckerberg are accused of shadow ban. Shadowban occurs when a platform’s algorithm reduces the value of keywords, to lower the content content and make it visible to fewer people.

Shadowban is malicious because it downgrades material, based on ideology, without violating the terms and regulations of the platform. The last time a shadowban occurred in Greece via Facebook was the case of Dimitris Kofontinas’ hunger strike. Users were forced to write about the issue with the initials DK.

Now, social media users, if they want to overcome the shadow ban, must not mention the words “Gaza”, “Palestine” and “West Bank”, while the rest and negative use of the word “Israel” is controlled by the meaning of the platform’s artificial intelligence. A nightmare scenario taken from dystopian films about the distant future.

This happens to everyone who stands in favor of Palestine, and can be confirmed specifically for Facebook by dozens of users in Greece as well.

For Instagram accounts, millions of people are only visible to their followers if they are logged into their accounts. Even if one considers Al pro-Palestinian Al Jazeera The same cannot be said about him guardianwebsites technology Or the independent two years ago. Complaints hosted by New York times. Meanwhile, especially on Instagram, the accounts of Palestinian photographers and journalists are being shut down with surprising ease.

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Thousands of Gaza war posts have been removed from social media at Israel’s request

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, along with TikTok, has received more than 8,000 requests from Israel to remove posts related to the war in Gaza.

According to the Israeli Attorney General’s Office, 94% of the content reported has been removed.

The Israeli Attorney General’s Office told Forbes that its requests to all major social media companies have increased tenfold since October 7.