A TikTok user claimed that a Selangor PAS information chief works at Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, and might have influenced the algorithm in its coalition’s favour during GE15.
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A Tiktok user recently claimed that an information chief at a Selangor PAS division works at TikTok’s parent company ByteDance and had a stint at its content moderation team (the details could allegedly be found on LinkedIn).
He questioned whether this was the reason why some TikTok users who created political content on the platform saw a huge dip in their viewership or felt like they were “shadowbanned”.
He also claimed, based on a Forbes article, that Tiktok has controls to determine which video would go viral, aside from using its automated algorithm in a user’s For You page (FYP).
@yuwanatv Apa kaitan TikTok Malaysia dan Perikatan Nasional? #tiktok #tiktokmalaysia #tiktokmalaysia🇲🇾 #bytedance #perikatannasional #pasgombak #dppm #suffikamari #pembangkang #viral #kerajaanperpaduan #pakatanharapan ♬ original sound – Yuwana TV
According to Malay Mail, TikTok Malaysia public policy head Hafizin Tajudin explained that the platform’s content moderators do not have any access to content promotional tools.
We have a robust quality assurance system in place to ensure that the political or personal opinions of our employees do not affect their work quality and ethics, including when performing content moderation tasks.TikTok Malaysia public policy head Hafizin Tajudin
Hafizin added that Tiktok’s content moderation decisions are based on a set of clearly defined community guidelines.
There are also layers of checks and balances including quality assurance and third-party fact-checkers to uphold safety and ensure fairness in moderation.
Any content that is found to be in violation of its guidelines may be removed or hidden from the For You page to limit its reach.
Although TikTok does promote a small fraction of videos to introduce celebrities and emerging creators to the community, Hafizin said they do not allow political advertising on the platform.
This decision was made by instituting changes to its policies regarding government, politicians, and political party accounts (GPPPA) in September 2022.
The scrutiny on TikTok comes after the 15th General Election when many observers credited Perikatan Nasional’s achievements in the elections to its ability to garner youth support on TikTok, Malaysiakini reported.
During the run-up to election day, TikTok got into hot waters when videos insinuating the repeat of 13 May incident were spread on the platform. Some of the said videos were paid for.
At the time, TikTok said those videos initially evaded auto-moderation checks but were later flagged and deleted upon manual checks.