Dr Mike Evans

New TikTok feature introduced to address Holocaust misinformation

Video-sharing app TikTok announced it is adding a new feature to fight against Holocaust misinformation in response to growing concerns regarding antisemitism.

The new feature will include a banner pop up when users search for Holocaust-related terms, including hashtag searches, to direct them to the website AboutTheHolocaust.org. The website is runs by the World Jewish Congress and UNESCO.

The change was announced on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the date that marks the liberation of Auschwitz.

“Hateful behavior of any kind is incompatible with our values and the inclusive environment we are building at TikTok. We condemn antisemitism in all its forms and deploy a combination of technologies and moderation teams to remove antisemitic content and accounts from our platform, including Holocaust denial or any other form of hate speech directed at the Jewish community,” TikTok said in an announcement.

Social media platforms have been under strong criticism over antisemitic content that has been allowed. Many of the concerns include videos and other content that include Holocaust denial or misinformation.

In 2021, TikTok passed search-engine giant Google in number of views for the first time, showing its strong popularity among young people. The new initiative hopes to provide a corrective for teenagers unfamiliar with the facts of the Holocaust and Jewish history.

TikTok has had a mixed acceptance in some nations due to its Chinese ownership. Former US president Donald Trump threatened to ban the app from American app stores before a new deal was made that allowed for better controls against the tracking of user data.

The platform remains the largest social media platform owned by a Chinese company that has a strong following in the U.S. In 2020, BBC News reported people in TikTok video pretending to be Holocaust victims in a disturbing trend called the Holocaust Challenge that was later blocked by the platform.