Algorithm isn't biased; users are overwhelmingly Pro-Palestine: TikTok
In a press release, TikTok denies allegations of deliberately boosting pro-Palestine hashtags to garner more views.
In recent weeks, TikTok has found itself at the center of controversy as Republican politicians criticize the popular social media app for allegedly promoting pro-Palestine content following the IOF's aggression on Gaza, a report by Vice detailed.
Accusations have been made that TikTok is intentionally influencing American youth to support Hamas. Tensions escalated as Republicans accused the platform of attempting to "brainwash our [American] youth" with pro-Palestine content.
However, TikTok denied the allegations, asserting that the surge in such content is not a result of the app's algorithm but is reflective of the opinions of its predominantly teenage user base.
In a press release issued on Monday, TikTok stated, "Attitudes among young people skewed toward Palestine long before TikTok existed."
Citing Gallup polling data dating back to 2010, the company argued that there had been diminishing support for "Israel" among younger Americans, well before TikTok was created.
TikTok emphasized that its algorithm remains neutral, operating in a positive feedback loop that tailors content recommendations based on user interactions.
"TikTok does not 'promote' one side of an issue over another," the release clarified. The company further revealed that a third-party Trusted Technology Provider has been granted access to TikTok's source code to ensure the system aligns with the platform's intentions.
The blog post contended that the surge in pro-Palestine content is a reflection of user engagement rather than intentional promotion.
"On TikTok, the videos people view, like, and share inform the recommendation algorithm about content they might find relevant," the release explained. TikTok denied allegations of deliberately boosting pro-Palestine hashtags to garner more views.
On October 31, it was reported by Axios that over the span of the two weeks leading up to the end of October (October 16 to 31), TikTok posts with the hashtag '#StandwithPalestine' received nearly four times as many views globally as posts with the hashtag '#StandwithIsrael'.
According to data, posts with the '#StandwithPalestine' hashtag have significantly surpassed posts with the '#StandwithIsrael' hashtag in terms of view counts in both the US and globally in two weeks.
An influencer posted a video revealing that "Israel" offered him $5,000 to go live and pledge his support to the Israeli occupation.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) October 26, 2023
"You cannot buy my support of a genocide," he insisted, calling out, "Free #Palestine".
Source: @/yourfavoriteguy on Tiktok #GazaGenocide… pic.twitter.com/IqM9Enw6nP
From October 16 until October 31, there have been 210,000 posts globally featuring the hashtag '#StandwithPalestine', while the hashtag '#StandwithIsrael' has been used in 17,000 posts.
In the US, during the specified duration, there have been 8,000 posts featuring the hashtag '#StandwithPalestine', whereas the hashtag '#StandwithIsrael' has been used in 3,000 posts only during the same period.