TikTok says it is banning political ads to retain community standards

ByteDance-owned TikTok will not allow political ads on on its platform. In a blog post, Blake Chandlee, vice president of global business solutions, TikTok explained that any paid ads that come into the community need to fit the standards for its platform, and the nature of paid political ads does not fit the TikTok platform experience.

As such, the platform for short-form videos will not permit paid ads that promote or oppose a candidate, current leader, political party or group, or issue at the federal, state, or local level – including election-related ads, advocacy ads, or issue ads. In a statement to Marketing, a TikTok spokesperson said the platform has put in place protective measures by combining content moderation technology with a human moderation team.

“Our approach to content moderation is not only targeted at political content – we ensure all content of sexual, derogatory or inflammatory nature is removed as soon as possible. This is enabled by our team of in-house technicians, aided by our moderation technology,” the spokesperson added.

TikTok is committed to helping make its millions of users feel safe and comfortable within the community, which is why we are continuously enhancing and updating our policies, tools and resources to promote a positive and safe in-app environment

TikTok recently introduced paid ads into its community experience and is in the early days of introducing and experimenting with different ad formats. The company aims to bring in a variety of opportunities for brand partners, including the newly-launched TikTok Creator Marketplace, a beta program that enables brands to discover, connect, and engage with talented creators on marketing campaigns. According to Chandlee, brands are increasingly looking to creators for insights and partnerships in building quality content, and the company sees demand for more collaborative opportunities between brands and creators.

“For us, it all points back to our mission: to inspire creativity and build joy. We want to ensure we’re building a place where our community – users, creators, and brands – can be creative, build trends, and have a whole lot of fun in the process,” Chandlee said.

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This decision is in line with many social platforms tightening its stance on ads and content around the elections. Facebook recently enforced transparency ad tools on its policy on ads about social issues, elections and politics in Singapore. The tools require advertisers to be authorised and place “Paid for by” disclaimers on their ads, to bring greater transparency and authenticity to advertising, as well as reduce the spread of misinformation and prevent foreign interference in elections.

Meanwhile, Twitter requires advertisers promoting political campaigning content to undergo a certification process. Earlier this year, the microblogging company released a statement that it will build operational and tooling support to expand its political advertising policies globally.

Similarly, Snapchat too imposed transparency in its political ads policy. According to Snapchat, all political advertising must include a “paid for by” message in the ad that is followed by the name of the paying person or entity, and should not be misleading, violates the publicity, privacy, copyright, or other intellectual property rights of a third party, and feature graphic violence.

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(Photo courtesy: 123RF)

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