The largest independent study of hate on TikTok has found anti-Asian and pro-Nazi videos are racking up millions of views, often using pop songs to evade the platform’s auto-moderators.
A report by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a London-based counter-extremism think tank, said the leading social platform was “popular with those intent on using online spaces to produce, post and promote hate and extremism”.
The “Hatescape” report, the result of three months of research, found some of its leading racist or terroristic content was driven by or pertained to Australians.
One video that garnered over 2 million views involved a Caucasian man eating a bat in an offensive reference to stereotypes about Chinese people.
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Hatescape: An In-Depth Analysis of Extremism and Hate Speech on TikTok
This report aims to provide an in-depth analysis on the state of extremism and hate on TikTok. It is the culmination of three months of research on a sample of 1,030 videos, equivalent to just over eight hours of content, posted on the social media platform. These videos were used to promote hatred, as well as glorify extremism and terrorism.
ISD set out to examine the state of hate and extremism on TikTok in two ways. The first objective involved analysing how individuals or groups promote hateful ideologies and target people on the platform based on numerous protected attributes such as ethnicity, religion, gender or others. Second, using the same framework, ISD investigated how features on TikTok like profiles, hashtags, share functions, video effects and music are used to spread hate.
This report seeks to start a conversation around how platforms like TikTok can improve their own practices to protect users from harm. Additionally, it underscores the clear need for independent oversight of such platforms, which currently leave users and the wider public open to significant risks to their health, security and rights.