Uvalde ‘conspiracy’ among TikTok’s recommended searches

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The age of how people consume news continues to change as more and more people look to platforms like TikTok to get their updates. But a new report points out how easy it is to find misinformation on the platform through the recommended searches that lead people to videos on a “Uvalde conspiracy.” 

The report from NewsGuard Tech, an online trust rating software company, looked at data from across seven countries of how misinformation is being spread to users across various digital platforms. This misinformation report states that TikTok’s search engine is used to “pump toxic misinformation” and a July report states Gen Z kids are using TikTok over Google as a search engine.

However, TikTok’s recommended searches are leading people to conspiracies and misinformation about the 2020 election, abortion, COVID-19, and most recently a “Uvalde conspiracy.”

The memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde where 19 children and two teachers were murdered on May 24.

Eric Gay, STF / Associated Press

The NewsGuard report says “Uvalde tx conspiracy” is coming up as one of the top recommended searches, which suggests that the May 24 shooting did not occur. It’s similar to conspiracies about the Sandy Hook shooting that claimed the victims and families from the December 2012 shooting were “crisis actors.” Far Right podcast host Alex Jones is being sued for spreading the Sandy Hook conspiracy. 

The report states that the search takes users to a video that says, “This was planned. This was not necessary!” A second TikTok video shows security camera footage outside the school that shows a blip fly across the screen.

“Who is running away from the scene and in black?” the narrator asks. “It’s like an apparition. I want answers.”

When searching for January 6 investigation committee, TikTok takes users to top videos where Texas Sen. Ted Cruz questions an FBI official about a conspiracy theory that a federal informant encouraged rioters to get violent with police. The FBI has since debunked that theory.  

TikTok didn’t respond to NewsGuard’s questions about the recommended searches.