TikTok may have a terrorism problem. It makes sense, right? When you think of terrorists, you automatically think of TikTok. According to The Wall Street Journal, Islamic State militants have been posting short propaganda videos to the platform. That’s especially concerning because TikTok is so popular with impressionable teenagers. Think about that for a second: TikTok used by ISIS for propaganda purposes.
According to WSJ, the videos showed things like corpses being paraded through the streets, ISIS fighters and women who call themselves “jihadist and proud.” Some videos were set to catchy songs, and some used TikTok filters with stars and hearts. They were shared by nearly two dozen accounts. This should be a surprise to find out that TikTok used by ISIS. Social media has always been used by terrorist organizations for recruitment.
The videos have been removed, and in a statement provided to Engadget, a TikTok spokesperson said:
“Content promoting terrorist organizations has absolutely no place on TikTok. We permanently ban any such accounts and associated devices as soon as identified, and we continuously develop ever-stronger controls to proactively detect suspicious activity. This is an industry-wide challenge complicated by bad actors who actively seek to circumvent protective measures, but we have a team dedicated to aggressively protecting against malicious behavior on TikTok.”
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have fought their own battles against terrorist content. WhatsApp and Snapchat have also been used to distribute terrorist content and recruitment. Now that TikTok has become one of the most popular apps in the US, it will likely face similar challenges. The company has hired thousands of content moderators and its policies prohibit terrorist and criminal organizations from using the app. But, we’ve seen how well people on social media follow rules. To know that TikTok used by ISIS shouldn’t be surprising. As we’ve seen on other platforms, keeping terrorist propaganda at bay requires constant and evolving vigilance.