TikTok has been accused of censoring the Voice debate after a Ben Fordham video about ticks and crosses on ballot papers was taken down for ‘misinformation’.
Breakfast host Mark Levy explained on Wednesday the social media platform had removed a video from the Ben Fordham Live account which discussed rules on voting in the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum to be held on October 14.
In the video, which was shared last week, Fordham discussed the Australian Electoral Commission’s instructions on whether to use a tick or cross when voting – after it was revealed a cross would not be counted as a vote.
Levy questioned the removal of the video with TikTok claiming it was taken down due to an ‘error’ with its artificial intelligence and human moderation process.
The video has since been reinstated with the popular social media platform saying it is ‘hyper-sensitive during election time’ when moderating content about voting.
Breakfast host Mark Levy explained on Wednesday the social media platform had removed a video from the Ben Fordham Live account which discussed rules on voting in the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum to be held on October 14
TikTok has been accused of censorship after a Ben Fordham video about ticks and crosses on ballot papers for the Voice was taken down for ‘misinformation’
Levy claimed the timing was ‘questionable’ and added the moderation seemed like ‘censorship’ working to help the Yes campaign.
‘Videos are now more informed, fact-based and Yes leaning. There’s been a shift from No to Yes and that’s despite the Yes camp having 10 times less followers on that platform.
‘Has the Yes side gone on a reporting spree? Are they trying to remove stuff they don’t like? Someone must be doing it and that’s why our video was taken down.
‘Now if this is the direction we are heading in, we are going down a slippery slope.’
Levy said the video, which amassed more than half a million views, was removed over the weekend due to breaching TikTok’s ‘civic and election integrity’ guidelines.
‘You might remember Ben highlighting the fact that if you tick the paper your vote will be counted as ‘Yes’ but if you put a cross it will not be counted as a ‘No’,’ Levy said.
‘TikTok has become extra cautious with content that either questions or paints the Voice in a negative light,’ Levy said.
‘They [TikTok] said ‘elections are important moments of community conversation and promote the values of an open society.
‘We do not allow misinformation about civic and electoral process regardless of intent.’
Levy rubbished claims the video contained misinformation and said ‘it started facts about how there will be mistakes made at the ballot box’.
‘The video was not telling people who to vote for or what to say, so where’s the misinformation?’ he said.
TikTok told Daily Mail Australia it does not moderate content based on political sensitivity and advised a wide range of viewpoints can be found on the platform.
‘Our focus during the referendum is to keep our community safe and protect the integrity of the process and our platform while maintaining a neutral position. We do not moderate content based on political sensitivity,’ A TikTok spokesperson said.
‘During the campaign period, our team of 40,000 trust and safety specialists exercise vigilance around our Community Guidelines, which clearly state that we do not allow misinformation about civic and electoral processes, regardless of intent.
‘This includes misinformation about how to vote, registering to vote, eligibility requirements of candidates, the processes to count ballots and certify elections, and the final outcome of an election.’
Levy said the video, which amassed more than half a million views, was removed over the weekend due to breaching TikTok’s ‘civic and election integrity’ guidelines
TikTok explained the platform works closely with the Australian Electoral Commission, the Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce and other community partners to establish dedicated reporting channels.
TikTok users also have access to a hub designed to educate people about the referendum process.
Yes and No supporters have increased their campaigns in the lead up to the referendum next month.
A recent national Essential poll indicates that a majority of Australians will vote ‘no’ in the referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
The poll, conducted from September 13 to 17, surveyed a sample of 1,135 Aussie voters.
It found 51 per cent of people will vote ‘No’ in the upcoming referendum, compared to 41 per cent voting ‘Yes’.
On voter strength, 42 per cent said they were a hard ‘No’, while 28 per cent were a hard ‘Yes’.
The figures also showed 12 per cent of voters were a soft ‘Yes’, compared to eight per cent of soft ‘No’ voters.
Since June, all polls conducted have shown support for the ‘Yes’ vote steadily declining.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) urged Aussies to remain respectful while debating the Voice to parliament
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urged Aussies on both sides of the Voice debate to remain respectful.
Mr Albanese was also emphatic when asked on 2SM radio on Wednesday morning if he would hold the referendum if he had his time again.
‘Yes. Because when are we going to get this done (otherwise). It’s been 122 years,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘There’s provisions in the Constitution to allow New Zealand to be the seventh state of Australia, but there’s no acknowledgment of the first peoples of Australia.
‘This should not be controversial.’
Mr Albanese committed the Labor government to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart ‘in full’ when he won the election in May last year.
He added the first step to implementing the statement was to hold a referendum on enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has pleaded with the Prime Minister to delay the ‘divisive’ referendum or to change the question put to voters.
Mr Dutton suggested the question should ask Australians to vote on Indigenous recognition without a constitutionally enshrined Voice.