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TikTok is prohibiting politicians and political parties from raising money on its site less than two months before the midterm elections.
The social networking site announced its decision to outlaw political campaigns’ fundraising requests in a blog post on Wednesday. According to the firm, political accounts would immediately lose access to monetization tools, including gift-giving, tipping, e-commerce options and advertising opportunities.
TikTok will crack down on politicians posting videos begging for funds or political parties sending users to online donation forms over the coming weeks.
Government accounts will have a little bit more latitude. According to TikTok, these accounts would be permitted to promote under specific conditions, such as when promoting educational campaigns about Covid-19 booster shots. To launch that kind of campaign, however, the users of those accounts must collaborate with a company employee.
The new regulations will aid in the enforcement of a prohibition on political advertising that TikTok, a platform renowned for its brief videos and younger-skewing audience, initially implemented in 2019.
Although the platform is increasingly attracting political content, the corporation, which has more than a billion monthly users worldwide, nonetheless refers to itself as “first and foremost an entertainment platform.” The same characteristics that make consumer products and dance videos go viral on the platform, according to researchers who monitor online myths, are what is propelling TikTok to become a significant hotbed of political misinformation.
TikTok has made multiple announcements to try to civilize and secure its platform in the midst of a campaign season already characterized by conspiracies and combative speech. An “Elections Center,” a center on the app with election-related information curated from reliable sources and displayed in more than 45 languages, was unveiled by the business in August. In addition, TikTok announced that it intended to tag postings about the midterm elections with hyperlinks leading people to the elections center.
The verification of political accounts in the US will be tested starting on Wednesday, according to TikTok. TikTok also claimed that it was attempting to inform users of its sponsorship guidelines, which forbid creators from receiving payment for making political content.
TikTok Has Bent its Rules for its Top Creators
According to audio recordings of internal TikTok meetings from the fall of 2021 that were leaked, the company has a two-tiered moderation system in place that gives influencers, celebrities, and other VIPs preference. When users with more than 5 million followers publish in violation of TikTok’s content guidelines, this more lenient policy enforcement mechanism uses dedicated queues to prioritize and safeguarding such users’ uploads.
These well-known accounts have been given what is known as “creator labels” within TikTok’s internal systems. The designations were intended for “special users,” whose content was to be controlled independently and differently from that of second-class users, according to a meeting tape from late September 2021 from TikTok’s Trust & Safety team. So naturally, we don’t want to handle these people like other accounts.
This confirmed what a consultant from Booz Allen Hamilton, who was also present at the conference, had heard from another TikTok employee earlier. He claimed that the employee “was fairly direct” in saying that even if both of my posts and theirs were inappropriate, the renowned person would be able to maintain their online presence.
Like most other social media platforms, TikTok is overseen by a set of community standards regulating everything from content that promotes child sex abuse to election rumors to risky viral challenges. According to the business’ website, these guidelines “apply to everyone and everything on TikTok.”
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TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza responded, “TikTok is not more lenient in monitoring accounts with more than 5 million followers,” in response to a question concerning the existence of a different system for “creative” content moderation. Additionally, she added, “We do not have moderation queues based on the following size. However, when asked whether the business has ever used such a system, Favazza did not immediately respond.
Opinions expressed by California Gazette contributors are their own.