TikTok requiring political creators to be verified

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The TikTok app logo appears in Tokyo on Sept. 28, 2020. TikTok may be the platform of choice for catchy videos, but anyone using it to learn about COVID-19, climate change or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is likely to encounter misleading information, according to a new research report. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

(NewsNation) — Ahead of the midterm elections, TikTok is creating more requirements for politicians and political accounts, including that they be verified.

In a blog post, Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s president of Global Business Solutions, said the aim of doing this is to build on the platform’s efforts to keep “harmful misinformation” off of TikTok and give its community “authoritative information” about elections.

Many political accounts, Chandlee said, already have a verification badge on their profile, which lets people know an account is genuinely from a certain politician, party or government official.

Starting Wednesday, though, TikTok will be “trialing” mandatory verification for these accounts through the 2022 midterm elections.

“We don’t proactively encourage politicians or political parties to join TikTok, but we welcome those that have chosen to and want to ensure our community knows the source is authentic when watching that content,” Chandlee wrote. “Verification lets our community know an account is authentic and belongs to the user it represents, which is a way to build trust between high-profile creators and their community.”

As TikTok has become more popular in recent years, a number of politicians have found followers on the app, including Florida Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla, and Florida Democratic congressional candidate Ken Russell.

Over the coming weeks, Chandlee said, TikTok will also stop allowing campaign fundraising.

Additionally, although political advertising is already not allowed, accounts belonging to politicians and political parties on TikTok will automatically have their advertising features turned off now. They are also getting cut off from accessing other monetization features such as gifting, tipping and e-commerce.

“By prohibiting campaign fundraising and limiting access to our monetization features and verifying accounts, we’re aiming to strike a balance between enabling people to discuss the issues that are relevant to their lives while also protecting the creative, entertaining platform that our community wants,” Chandlee said.

TikTok, like other social media in recent years, has struggled to contain misinformation on its platform.

Just this month, a new study came out by NewsGuard that found that one in five search results on TikTok contains misinformation. A TikTok spokesperson told CNN in response that it removes misinformation from the app, and partners with credible voices to “to elevate authoritative content on topics related to public health, and partner with independent fact-checkers who help us to assess the accuracy of content.”

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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