"There have been nearly four times the number of views to TikTok posts using the hashtag #StandwithPalestine globally compared to posts using the hashtag #StandwithIsrael in the past two weeks, according to data from TikTok's creator center," Axios reported on Tuesday. The news site added that there have been 210,000 posts using the hashtag #StandwithPalestine and 17,000 using the hashtag #StandwithIsrael worldwide since October 16. "In the U.S., there have been 8,000 posts using the hashtag #StandwithPalestine in the past two weeks compared to 3,000 posts using the hashtag #StandwithIsrael in that time," it further reported.
Global observers think that the war propaganda that Israel should be supported is no longer winning. This is happening despite reports coming out that TikTok is allegedly paying influencers thousands of dollars to share pro-Israel propaganda with their followers.
???? A trend has swept TikTok where Israeli’s mock the appearance of Palestinians, the fact they have no electricity and some even compare them to dogs.
Many of these videos also show parents making their kids take part in the trend. pic.twitter.com/5arRADPIQl
— Censored Men (@CensoredMen) October 26, 2023
As bombs rain on Palestinians in Gaza, Israelis like Eve Cohen have taken to TikTok in Arab face to claim Palestinian mothers are faking their deaths. pic.twitter.com/DIYICk9Y3o
— Rafael Shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) October 22, 2023
Now, Republicans are calling for TikTok to be banned because the platform is serving the Chinese agenda. According to the New York Post, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said that it would not be surprising that the Chinese-owned TikTok is pushing pro-Hamas content to serve China's agenda. "The CCP benefits by destabilizing the Middle East and pushing the United States to put more manpower back into the region," Blackburn said. "The United States needs to ban this app that steals and spies on American users."
Moreover, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who serves as chair of the House Select Committee on China, told The Post that TikTok "has become ground zero for disinformation and pro-Hamas propaganda" and warned the social media platform’s parent company ByteDance's ties to Beijing have made it difficult to separate organic viral trends from China-backed bots or influence campaigns.
"We have zero visibility into whether the viral nature of this content is the result of user engagement, bot campaigns, or the CCP's covert influence," Gallagher said in a statement. "All of this illustrates the fundamental problem with TikTok: it is an avenue for the CCP to covertly inject any message it wants – particularly during a crisis – into the American bloodstream. We must act now to ban it."
Another GOP lawmaker, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that he has been warning that Communist China is capable of using TikTok's algorithm to manipulate and influence Americans for quite some time. "We've seen TikTok used to downplay the Uyghur genocide, the status of Taiwan, and now Hamas terrorism. This is further proof that the app needs to be banned and treated for what it is: foreign propaganda," Rubio said in a statement. (Related: Ready for another DRAFT? New GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson says U.S. "boots on the ground" may be necessary for America to "stand with Israel.")
Following the calls for its cancellation in the U.S., TikTok refuted accusations that the platform has pushed content in support of Palestine. "Unfortunately, some misinformed commentators have mischaracterized our work to prevent the spread of hate speech and misinformation surrounding the crisis in Israel and Gaza, especially as it relates to antisemitism," TikTok said.
In a blog post titled "Ensuring a safe, authentic space during times of conflict,” the app said U.S. views of the hashtag #StandwithIsrael garnered 46 million views between Oct. 7 and Oct. 31, compared with 29 million views of the hashtag #StandwithPalestine over the same period. "Over the last few days, there has been unsound analysis of TikTok hashtag data around the conflict, causing some commentators to falsely insinuate TikTok is pushing pro-Palestine content over pro-Israel content to U.S. users," it wrote in the post.
TikTok also said it had removed more than 925,000 videos in the region since Oct. 7 for violating policies about violence and misinformation. It also said it took down 24 million fake accounts.
False claims about the conflict have spread on social platforms including Elon Musk's X and Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook (FB). After hundreds of reports of misinformation, propaganda, and graphic footage of the abductions on social media, the European Union's Industry commissioner gave TikTok, X and FB 24 hours to detail measures it would take to counter the spread of disinformation.
X self-reported to have removed hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts, as well as either removed or labeled tens of thousands of pieces of inflammatory and violent content.
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