Toxic TikTok: Popular social-media video app feeds vaccine misinformation to kids within minutes after they sign up
‘He gets the va**ine and he dies after three days! What do you think?’
By Alex Cadier and Melissa Goldin
Additional reporting by Chine Labbé, Virginia Padovese, and Katharina Stahlhofen
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TikTok feeds false and dangerous information about COVID-19 to children as young as nine years old quickly after they sign up for the platform, with little or no warnings, an investigation by NewsGuard found.
The short-form video-sharing app, which is especially popular with children under 18, served up false and misleading COVID-19 claims within minutes to nine children recruited by NewsGuard and carefully supervised by their parents or other adult relatives. The barrage of toxic content — including videos asserting that the vaccines are deadly and that COVID-19 is a genocide conspiracy — came even though some of the children did not follow a single account or search for specific kinds of information.