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UK Lawmakers Target TikTok in the Name of Fighting “Misinformation”

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

Lawmakers in the UK are trying to get the government to come up with “a strategy” to tackle “misinformation” on TikTok.

To make such demands seem less controversial, the good old “think of the children” is brought up, as MPs behind this initiative claim it is supposed to stop “misinformation directed at young people.”

But, this is only one element – albeit one highlighted by some legacy UK media – contained in a report that just came out, claiming that the government there “should learn lessons from pandemic to improve communications and counter misinformation.”

In fact, no lessons are likely to be learned here, at least not thanks to the “trusted voices” report from the parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee, considering that “combating misinformation” during the pandemic was used to cover up for unprecedented censorship.

And now, the committee wants the “war on misinformation” to keep going along the same lines, and, more efficiently. When it comes to children and teens, the concern is that platforms such as TikTok have become an important “source of news” for them.

The fear is that this means they are more and more abandoning “traditional sources of news,” as one report, in one such source of news, put it.

The Ofcom regulator claims to have data that shows that one in ten internet users in the 12-15 demographic now rely on TikTok for “news” while this number is much higher (71%) among those aged 16 to 24.

It isn’t clear if TikTok is singled out because of this, or because of (geo)political concerns since the app is already banned on official government devices. But now, the authorities seem to be concerned that they are “missing out” if they don’t participate on a platform that has such wide reach, so some do it using personal phones.

The report came at the end of an inquiry, which heard Rebecca Skippage, who is BBC’s “disinformation editor,” profess she would like to “learn from disinformation merchants.”

“They are extremely good at getting people’s attention,” Skippage shared.

Having access to many sources of news is not considered by the MPs behind the report to be a sign of a flourishing democracy; instead, it’s oddly termed, “fragmentation.”

“New apps and platforms rapidly become major players, shifting audience habits but also fragmenting the sources the public use for information,” the report reads.

Evidently, the committee doesn’t want the audience’s “habits” to shift, so the proposal is for the government to adopt “a clear strategy for communicating with young people and adapting to the development of new apps and platforms which appeal to this audience.”

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