TikTok to Moderate Posts About Midterms, Citing ‘Commitment to Election Integrity’

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Eric Han, TikTok’s head of U.S. safety, revealed via a lengthy blog post on the company’s official website what he describes as the company’s “commitment to election integrity” through a series of initiatives.

“At TikTok, we take our responsibility to protect the integrity of our platform — particularly around elections — with the utmost seriousness,” Han wrote. “We’re proud to be a place that brings people together over creative and entertaining content, and we work hard to keep harmful misinformation and other violations of our policies off our platform. As the US midterm elections continue, we’re sharing more on the work we’re doing to protect our community during this time.”

A keystone of this initiative is “Elections Center,” which aims to connect users to various resources (including signing them up to vote) and are partnering with Center for Democracy in Deaf America, to help those users who are deaf. Other partners include the Federal Voting Assistance Program, Campus Vote Project and Restore Your Vote.

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This section of the app will also “feature videos that encourage our community to think critically about content they see online, as well as information about voting in the election.” Han also stresses that for actions that require users to submit information, they will be directed to the appropriate website and that TikTok “not have access to any of that off-platform data or activity.”

TikTok will also “be adding labels to content identified as being related to the 2022 midterm elections as well as content from accounts belonging to governments, politicians, and political parties in the US.” Users will be able to filter content they wish to be exposed to via hashtags. “We’ll also provide access on popular elections hashtags, like #elections2022 and #midtermelections, so that anyone searching for that content will be able to easily access the center,” Han wrote.

What’s more, under the section “enforcing policies,” Han states: “TikTok has a longstanding policy to not allow paid political advertising, and our Community Guidelines prohibit content including election misinformation, harassment – including that directed towards election workers – hateful behavior, and violent extremism. To enforce our policies, we use a combination of people and technology. We also review content and accounts reported by community members. To bolster our response to emerging threats, TikTok partners with independent intelligence firms and regularly engages with others across the industry, civil society organizations, and other experts.”

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The company has partnered with “accredited fact-checking organizations who help assess the accuracy of content in more than 30 languages, and while they do not moderate content on our platform, their assessments provide valuable input which helps us take the appropriate action in line with our policies.

Out of an abundance of caution, while content is being fact checked or when content can’t be substantiated through fact-checking, it becomes ineligible for recommendation into For You feeds. We also inform viewers of unsubstantiated content and prompt them to reconsider before sharing potential misleading information.”

Han also states that the company is “building on lessons learned,” specifically citing the wildly chaotic 2020 election cycle (to say nothing of 2016). “We’re already meeting one of them by launching our in-app center 6 weeks earlier than in 2020 to capture more of the midterms conversation over the summer months,” Han writes.

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