TikTok data reveals a significant infiltration of disinformation on Russia’s war in Ukraine, with fake TikTok accounts reaching millions of users. The posts, targeting Ukrainian, Russian, and European audiences, artificially amplified pro-Russian narratives. Some accounts were deceitfully labeled as news outlets, adding to the deceptive nature of the content.
A BBC investigation uncovered 800 fake accounts spreading false claims about Ukrainian officials. TikTok, having initiated an investigation, removed all identified fake accounts before the BBC report. A TikTok spokesperson emphasized their relentless pursuit of those attempting to deceive the community.
Around 13,000 fake accounts, primarily operating from inside Russia, propagated Kremlin war propaganda in local languages to various countries. Some accounts operated from Ukraine, artificially amplifying narratives to raise funds for the Ukrainian military. The combined followers of these fake accounts exceeded one million, and their videos routinely reached millions of viewers.
TikTok’s disclosure comes amid international pressure to combat false users and disinformation, aligning with increased efforts to address concerns surrounding deceptive content on social media platforms. The report follows the U.K.’s recent accusation against Russia of engaging in a “campaign of malicious cyber activity,” highlighting the growing global scrutiny on social media sites concerning the impact of false information on global events.