TikTok has announced an upcoming tightening of its policy on political accounts using its video-sharing platform, such as accounts owned by political parties, politicians and governments.
Change looks meant to be restrictive, uh political fraud (for lack of a better term) – with an inbound ban on using monetization features (such as tips, gifts, and e-commerce) or using a video-sharing platform to collect campaign donations directly.
Political accounts will also not be eligible to participate in the TikTok Creator Foundation, nor will they be able to access advertising features by default.
A company spokeswoman said the changes are meant to create a positive environment and reduce polarization, in line with its mission to be an entertainment platform. TikTok said the changes will be rolled out and/or applied in the “coming weeks”. He also confirmed that the new policies are applied worldwide.
In the policy update blog post, the following has been added:
TikTok is an entertainment platform where people come to share their stories and also learn about other people’s experiences. These stories may concern all aspects of their lives, including current events such as elections and political issues. Like us advanced earlierwe want to continue to develop policies that promote a positive environment that brings people together, not divides them.
While TikTok banned political ads since 2019 now he goes a little further – he says he wants to use this ban on “political content in ads” by enforcing account-level ad restrictions.
“This means that accounts owned by politicians and political parties will have their access to advertising features automatically disabled, which will help us apply our existing policies more consistently,” the post explains.
TikTok notes that there may still be “limited” situations where political accounts will be allowed to advertise – for example, to raise awareness of public health causes. But it says that government organizations will “need” to work with a company representative to run such campaigns, so he will review all requests.
“We understand that there will be times when governments may need to access our advertising services, for example, to support public health and safety, as well as access to information, such as advertising campaigns to stimulate the spread of Covid-19,” it noted. adding, “We will continue to allow government entities to advertise in limited circumstances, and they will be required to work with a TikTok representative.”
Campaign fundraising changes will result in TikTok banning content that directly encourages donations.
TikTok has cited examples of “a video from a politician asking for donations” or “a political party directing people to a donation page on its website” as types of fundraising content it does not allow under the new policy. But it remains to be seen if politicians will find creative/coded ways to encourage fundraising on TikTok that get around these restrictions. As always, a policy is only as strong as its implementation.
“TikTok is an entertainment platform first and foremost, and we pride ourselves on being a place that brings people together around creative and entertainment content,” the company added in a blog post. “By banning campaign fundraising and restricting access to our monetization features, we aim to strike a balance between empowering people to discuss issues relevant to their lives while protecting the creative and entertainment platform our community wants.”
It’s unclear how much political shenanigans are going on on the TikTok platform at this time. When asked if there were a significant number of political accounts using monetization features such as tips, etc., a spokesperson for the company declined to elaborate, saying the company does not release information about specific user demographics.
While TikTok clearly wants its platform to be seen as “just a little harmless entertainment,” it can’t help but become a political “hot topic” in and of itself.
Legislators and intelligence agencies in the West have — for years — raised a number of concerns that TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and is thus subject to a wide array of national security laws that give the Chinese state broad powers to access data. held by technology companies. . Consequently, he is invested in the discovery of the so-called “centers of transparency‘ and beyond migrating user data from the US to Oracle servers (as well as an announcement plans to localize dates in the EU as well). Although concerns remain about the possibility of Chinese employees accessing data on Western users.
The TikTok platform has also faced sporadic accusations that it censors views that are not affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, although it denies this claim. Other political fears the platform raises in the West have to do with its ability to track users, given how much user data it collects (including biometric concerns), as well as broader concerns about its ability to influence public opinion through the use of its powerful content sorting algorithms. The fear – or, well, paranoia – here is that TikTok is a hugely successful foreign brainwashing operation for Western children…
Only last month, the British Parliament closed the TikTok account days after it opened after it faced criticism from senior MPs and peers who called the data security risks associated with using the app “significant”. As such, TikTok may need more than a few policy adjustments to rise above the political fray.
This report has been updated with responses from TikTok
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