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TikTok is preventing politicians and political parties from raising money on its platform less than two months before the midterm elections.
The social networking site announced its decision to forbid political campaigns from making donation requests in a blog post on Wednesday. According to the corporation, political accounts will immediately lose access to revenue tools, including gift-giving, tipping, and e-commerce.
In the coming weeks, TikTok will crack down on politicians who broadcast videos requesting funds or political parties who link people to internet donation pages.
Government accounts will have a little bit fewer restrictions. According to TikTok, these accounts would only be permitted to advertise under specific conditions, such as when promoting educational campaigns about Covid-19 booster shots. To operate that kind of campaign, however, the individuals in charge of such accounts must collaborate with a firm employee.
The new regulations will assist in enforcing a prohibition on political advertising that TikTok, known for its brief videos and younger-skewing audience, initially implemented in 2019.
The corporation, which has more than a billion monthly users worldwide, still refers to itself as “first and foremost an entertainment platform,” but the platform is rapidly attracting political content. TikTok is reportedly on its way to becoming a significant hub of political misinformation, propelled by the same factors that make consumer products and dance videos go popular on the platform, according to researchers who monitor internet hoaxes.
TikTok has made multiple announcements to try to civilize and secure its platform during a campaign season already characterized by conspiracies and combative speech. The business unveiled an “Elections Center” in August, a center on the app featuring election-related information curated from reliable sources and displayed in more than 45 languages. According to TikTok, posts about the midterm elections will be marked with links leading people to the elections center.
Beginning on Wednesday, TikTok announced it would test a requirement that political accounts in the United States be verified. Additionally, TikTok claimed that it was attempting to inform users of its sponsorship policies, which forbid creators from receiving payment for making political content.
How TikTok has bent its rules for its top creators
According to leaked audio recordings of internal TikTok meetings from the fall of 2021, TikTok features a two-tiered moderation system that gives influencers, celebrities, and other VIPs preference. When users who have more than 5 million followers submit content that violates TikTok’s content guidelines, this more lenient policy enforcement mechanism uses specialized queues to prioritize and safeguard those users’ posts.
These well-known accounts have been given what is referred to as “creator labels” within TikTok’s internal systems. According to a meeting tape from late September 2021, a TikTok’s Trust & Safety team member said that the labels were reserved for “special users” whose content was to be monitored independently and in a different way from that of second-class users. So naturally, we don’t want to handle these people like any other accounts.
This confirmed what a consultant from Booz Allen Hamilton, who was also present during the conference, stated he had heard from another TikTok employee earlier. The employee, he claimed, “was really straightforward that, like, a famous person could submit stuff and I could post content, and if they were both inappropriate, the famous person would be permitted to stay up.”
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Similar to most other social media sites, TikTok is overseen by a set of community rules that regulate everything from child sex abuse content to false election information to risky viral challenges. According to the company’s website, these guidelines “apply to everyone and everything on TikTok.”
When questioned if TikTok has a different “creative” content monitoring system, business spokeswoman Jamie Favazza responded, “TikTok is not more liberal in moderating accounts with more than 5 million followers.” However, she added, “We do not have moderation queues based on the following size. A follow-up query regarding whether the business has previously used such a system was not quickly responded to by Favazza.