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China’s TikTok to Crack Down on Influencers Ahead of US Midterms

TikTok is following in the footsteps of Meta and Twitter, which also have announced measures to prevent false claims before they spread online.


The debate about access to TikTok user's data continued in the Us Senate on Wednesday.
A senior TikTok executive sparred with senators on Wednesday on whether US users' data could be accessed in China. She said the company is working to appease US government concerns. File photo: Reuters.

China-owned social media app TikTok said it will crack down on content creators who post paid political messages on the short-form video app ahead of the US midterm election in November.

The company will hold meetings with prominent influencers and organisations to inform them of the new policy, said TikTok’s head of U.S. safety Eric Han.

He added that internal teams, including those that work on trust and safety, will monitor for signs that creators are being paid to post political content, and the company will also rely on media reports and outside partners to find violating posts.

“We saw this as an issue in 2020,” Han said. “Once we find out about it … we will remove it from our platform.”

TikTok Politics

Critics and lawmakers have accused TikTok and rival social media companies including Meta and Twitter of not doing enough to stop political misinformation and divisive content from spreading on their apps.

While TikTok has banned paid political ads since 2019, campaign strategists have skirted the ban by paying influencers to promote political issues.

The China-owned app has also come under fire from the West for sharing user data with its own government, following a recent BuzzFeed investigation.

This led UK Parliament to delete its account after just one week, while suspicions rose that the CCP is tracking US TikTok users in the military to understand America’s army strategy.

Following Meta And Twitter’s Lead

TikTok now follows in the footsteps of America’s Meta and Twitter, distancing itself from the upcoming US midterms.

Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said on Tuesday that it will restrict political advertisers from running new ads a week before the election, an action it also took in 2020.

Twitter also said it planned to revive previous strategies for the midterm election last week, including placing labels in front of some misleading tweets and inserting reliable information into timelines to debunk false claims before they spread further online.

Civil and voting rights experts said the plan was not adequate to prepare for the election.

 

  • Reuters, with additional editing from Alfie Habershon

 

Read more:

UK Parliament Shuts TikTok Account Due to China Data Links

AF TV – TikTok Gives Google a Run For its Money

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Alfie Habershon

Alfie is a Reporter at Asia Financial. He previously lived in Mumbai reporting on India's economy and healthcare for data journalism initiative IndiaSpend, as well as having worked for London based Tortoise Media.

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