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TikTok recently announced plans to verify accounts of US political affiliates ahead of the nation’s midterm elections.
TikTok will begin to require verification of political accounts belonging to US government departments, politicians, and political parties. The Chinese short-form video hosting service HAS also announced its intention to ban videos targeted at campaign fundraising.
TikTok’s structural overhaul for political accounts in the US is part of an ongoing scheme among social media platforms. Ahead of the US midterm elections in November, many social media companies are working to clamp down on political misinformation. This operational cleanup results from backlash for allowing such content to thrive on their platforms.
According to Tik Tok, the policy changes will apply globally and take effect in the coming weeks. Furthermore, a spokeswoman for the social media giant said the purpose of the changes is to promote a positive environment. In addition, this spokesperson explained that TikTok seeks to reduce polarization to remain an entertainment platform.
Speaking on the TikTok verification development, the platform’s president of Global Business Solutions, Blake Chandlee, explained:
“We don’t proactively encourage politicians or political parties to join TikTok, but we welcome those that have chosen to and want to ensure our community knows the source is authentic when watching that content.”
Emphasizing the benefits posed by these changes, Chandlee further stated:
“Verification lets our community know an account is authentic and belongs to the user it represents, which is a way to build trust between high-profile creators and their community.”
TikTok Approach to Verification of Political Accounts
According to TikTok, political accounts can submit a request for verification. In addition, the ByteDance-owned company also says that it will work to confirm the authenticity of profiles plausibly belonging to politicians or political parties.
Furthermore, TikTok also says that political accounts will not be eligible for TikTok’s Creator Fund. This means that political accounts will not be able to access funding features like digital payments and gifting, which are available to influencers on the app. This also extends to the prohibition of campaign fundraising, including videos from politicians seeking donations. Likewise, these political accounts will also not be able to access ads by default. As the Chinese social media giant put it, “this means accounts belonging to politicians and political parties will automatically have their access to advertising features turned off, which will help us more consistently enforce our existing policy.”
TikTok further adds that it will allow political accounts to advertise in “limited” situations, including raising awareness for public health reasons. The company has long endured scrutiny from US legislators who have criticized its app’s handling of user data. TikTok has banned political advertising since 2019.
As the company became more popular, it benefited several politicians who enjoy healthy followership on the platform. These include Florida Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings and Florida Democratic congressional candidate Ken Russell.