TikTok Was Called Out for All the Political and Unmentioned Advertisements On Its Platform Despite Their No Political Ad Policy

TikTok has grown as a platform faster and better than all its competitors and other applications and the social media giant has applied some strict policies on its application in order to ensure a positive environment, but turns out there is always a loop hole through which users can break a guideline without the moderation team of the app even knowing.

One such incident has happened with TikTok’s rule to not allow any political advertisement on its platform which it imposed in 2019. Turns out this rule is being broken by a ton of influencers on the platform specially due to the influencer marketing and lack in the ad transparency by the platform.

A report from Mozilla stated that it has found a lot of influencers on the app that are being paid by political organizations and parties to promote them and their messages through the platform to the public without any identity disclose. Various users across the platform had deals specially with the political parties in the States and such parties were funding these influencers. One name which came forward was a tax exempt organization called Turning Point USA, which had its own funding program which was used to fund the young talent on the platform. The report also mentioned that it has observed some spread of indirect and covered political messages on the application as well.

The report states that all this may be because of the fact that TikTok does not offer its users tools to report such partnerships or sponsorships and also relies upon the creators themselves to self-identify promotions and let the viewers know about it through hashtags like #partnership #sponsorships or #Ad etc. which is also a guideline in the US Federal Trade to label videos or posts which are paid through such hashtags.

But since TikTok does not properly look into the ad systems and moderation of their platform, it has become far too easy for users to post the paid content without mentioning that it is paid and publicize brands and in this case, political parties. Through this political parties gain a lot of recognition because the young youth will support the person their ideal influencer does, and that is simply how social media power works.

The report also highlights that the company will be launching a feature which will help promote posts soon and this can be very dangerous in terms of promoting content which is basically paid with dark money to promote content against the guidelines without any knowledge of its partnership with the user.

The report also stated that the ad transparency on the platform is lacking and Facebook and Google are doing much better in terms of this than TikTok. Considering how previously the same report had mentioned the Google and Facebook’s Ad Transparency as poor, TikTok’s position on this now seems questionable to us.

The tech giant when questioned on about all this tried to get ahead of the conversation and maintained a white lie or truth? They say that they are still against political advertisement on their platform and are working towards more reliable tools to ensure this.

However, what the company needs to do is to develop specific mechanisms for content creators to disclose partnership, including launching an ad database which includes paid partnerships, invest in comprehensive advertising transparency, etc. and we hope they do this as quickly as they can before more people are misguided through their app.

Photo: Anatoliy Sizov via Getty Images

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