Chinese Army miffed with TikTok as platform becomes 'breeding ground' for information war against Russia

TikTok app logo is seen in this illustration taken. Reuters

Beijing: TikTok has become a breeding ground for fake news and propaganda against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a study by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has revealed.

The video-sharing app has become the only Chinese-owned business to spread propaganda against Russia. The other companies which are part of the list include Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other tech giants.

The study by PLA found that these companies have waged a “cognitive war” that “greatly undermines Russian military morale” and “eroded the international image” of Russia.

The authors of the study said, “Combat in the cognitive domain is a new, advanced form of warfare. It is also the highest level of human [war] games.”

About the study

PLA’s study was headed by Ling Haifeng, a professor at the Army Engineering University of the PLA in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, according to South China Morning Post.

The definition of cognitive warfare, according to Ling and her colleagues, is an “organised campaign aimed at manipulating the perceptions of targeted audiences and changing their decisions or behaviours.”

The study said, “This is the first time civilian hi-tech companies have carried out cognitive warfare during a large-scale war. Media-driven cognitive warfare based on the mobile internet has had huge repercussions in this conflict.”

Ling and her team accused the US government of Ukraine bias as algorithms on its social media accounts promote friendly posts for Kyiv and highlight Russian cruelty.

How TikTok spreads false information about the war

Since the war started, TikTok has been slammed for its inability to curb the spread of fake news on its platform.

According to Fortune, TikTok’s algorithm fed misinformation on its “For You” page showing Ukraine-related posts without even considering the keywords entered by a user.

The company has, however, since deleted video uploads and live streams from Russia. While more than 1,000 accounts affiliated with the Russian government have also been suspended.

A study by a US-based national security advocacy group called The Alliance for Securing Democracy showed the prevalence of TikTok among Russian users. It revealed that the Russian state-controlled broadcaster Russia Today has more TikTok followers than New York Times.

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