Ads with misinformation, doxing, incitement easy to place on TikTok: report
BNR submitted seven advertisements aimed at sabotaging the Provincial Elections to publish on TikTok on election day, March 15. Six of them got approved, despite TikTok’s general ban on political advertisements.
The approved ads contained disinformation, like claiming that the polling stations are closed. There was one calling for violence - “Rutte must fuck off! Storm parliament!” And one with Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag’s address - “To Kaag’s house with torches, set it on fire!”
The only advertisement that got rejected contained a call from Prime Minister Mark Rutte to vote, followed by allegations of voter fraud.
After BNR asked TikTok about the ads, the social media platform rejected them. “These ads should never have been approved,” a spokesperson told the broadcaster. TikTok promised to do more to ensure the safety of the elections.
Theo Bertram, head of public affairs for TikTok in Europe, told BNR that the ads would likely have been removed after publication. “The more views, the more moderation takes place,” he said. But he also acknowledged that TikTok should have rejected the ads in the first place. “We have strict rules. We don’t allow political ads, and certainly not these videos.”
According to Bertram, TikTok has a special team in the Netherlands to guarantee the integrity of the electoral process. “They know the culture and are familiar with what is going on,” he said.