Popular short video making app, TikTok, is distancing itself from paid political ads. The company announced today that it won’t allow such ad sclaiming they don’t fit “the TikTok platform experience.”
The company’s VP of global business solutions, Blake Chandlee, said the platform won’t allow paid ads that promote a political agenda:
To that end, we will not allow 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.
Interestingly, the app already had a similar policy for India before this year’s assembly elections. Today’s announcement is related to the US and Europe region.
This is quite a different approach as compared to US-based tech platforms such as Gooogle, Facebook, and Twitter. All of them allow paid political ads but with transparency programs that allow people to see who paid for the ad.
While we won’t see some hilarious attempts from politicians to connect with youth trough ironically funny videos, we might still see a lot of political content around. In this year’s assembly elections in India, the platform made a significant impact in making the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi more popular.
Meanwhile, the UK Prime Minister Boris Jhonson has joined Snapchat so people can see more of what he is doing.
— Lee C Dunn (@LeeCDinDC) October 3, 2019
Banking on the app’s popularity, the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has roped in a TikTok celebrity to contest elections in the state of Haryana. Last month, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) became the first political party to have an officially verified account on the app.
However, the company hasn’t been untouched by political controversy. A report published by The Guardian last week suggests the app censors political content in China that doesn’t fall in line with the country’s government’s purview. The app has also come under fire for censoring voices from the Hong Kong protest and pro-LGBT content in some countries.
While the political ad ban may not solve all these problems on the platform, it shows intent from the company that it’s not allowing money from political parties flow through the app.