TikTok Announces Changes For Politicians’ Accounts Ahead Of Midterms

TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media platform, announced Wednesday that it will restrict monetization and campaign finance features for political accounts as part of a new policy update. The application will also require verification of the accounts of US governments, politicians and political parties until November’s midterm elections.

In a post on the company’s website, Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s president of global business solutions, said the changes are meant to ensure the short-form video platform “remains a fun, positive and joyful experience.” .

The platform, which has already banned political advertising, now says it will also remove advertising features from the accounts of political candidates and parties.

Some exceptions will apply, including public health campaigns, such as those urging people to get the COVID-19 booster shot.

“We will continue to allow government organizations to advertise in limited circumstances and will need to work with a TikTok representative,” Chandlee wrote.

The app will also remove access to “monetization features,” including e-commerce capabilities, from those accounts.

Chandlee said the company will target “campaign fundraising solicitation” in the coming weeks by blocking videos where candidates and politicians ask for money, as well as content through which a political party invites the people to donate on a campaign website.

The TikTok executive added that the requirement to verify political accounts is part of a test the company is running in the United States. Verified accounts display a blue badge with a verification mark next to their account names on the platform.

“By prohibiting campaign fundraising and limiting access to our monetization and account verification features, we aim to strike a balance between allowing people to discuss the issues that are relevant to their lives while protecting the platform creative and entertaining that our community wants,” Chandlee wrote.

TikTok, which was the most downloaded app in the first quarter of this year, has long faced questions about its connections to China and the Chinese Communist Party.

Last year, Beijing acquired a 1% stake and a seat on the board of Tiktok’s parent company, Bytedance, according to Reuters.

Vanessa Pappas, the company’s chief operating officer, appeared last week before a Senate hearing on the effects of social media on national security. He told lawmakers that no one who “makes a strategic decision on this platform” is a member of the CPP, according to Forbes. He later said the company does not select staff members based on their political affiliations.

Former President Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok and another Chinese-owned app, WeChat, in the US through executive orders in 2020.

President Joe Biden abandoned the orders when he took office, according to The Associated Press.

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