TikTok tightens control over political content ahead of US midterm elections

Politics 17 August, 2022

TikTok announced on Wednesday, August 17, measures prohibiting video producers from posting paid political messages in the app ahead of the midterm elections in the United States, which will be held on November 8. The details were reported in a blog post signed by Eric Khan, TikTok’s security manager for this social network in the US.

Theoretically, the purchase of political advertising has already been banned from 2019 on the Chinese social network. But in the US presidential election in 2020, some campaign teams circumvented the ban by paying influential people. «TikTok does not allow political advertising, including content paid for by influencers», – Eric Hahn said in a statement. Therefore, the company intends to fill this gap by strengthening control and organizing informational sessions with authors and talent search agencies to remind them of the rules for using the social network.

Eric Hahn added that internal teams will monitor for signs that creators are being paid to post political content, and that the company will also rely on media reports and partners to find copyright infringing posts and remove them. All other political videos, as long as they are free, do not spread misinformation and comply with the rules of use of the application, are designed to remain in the user chains.

TikTok is also launching a special area in the app called the «Election Center», where useful information for Internet users about polling stations, candidates and elections in general will be collected. «TikTok collaborates with recognized fact—checking organizations to help assess the validity of content published in more than 30 languages», – adds Eric Hahn. During a telephone interview with the press, the latter among these partners mentioned PolitiFact, Science Feedback and Lead Stories, the Bloomberg news agency reports.

TikTok has published new indicators after similar Meta and Twitter updates. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said on Tuesday that it would implement a procedure based on the same principles as in 2020 and block the posting of new posts by political advertisers a week before the election. At that time, these procedures did not allow either to completely stop the flow of false information that had spread by the time the results were announced, or to prevent the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Last week , Twitter also announced its moderation policy ahead of the midterm elections . The social network plans to once again put labels in front of some misleading tweets, as well as insert reliable information into users’ feeds.