TikTok VP Blake Chandlee Ceases Promotion of Political Ads through App
Last updated on September 9th, 2020
With a fan base of millions, Chinese video app TikTok has always been in the news. In a recent blog post by the Vice President of TikTok’s Global Business Solutions, Blake Chandlee, it was revealed that TikTok will not allow paid ads that speak in favour of or against any candidate, current leader, political party or any ongoing problems at the federal, state or local level including ads related to elections, advocacy or issue ads.
In a statement that came on Thursday, the Chinese app Douyin, better known as TikTok said that political ads do not serve the agenda of the app, which is entertainment, and promoting them would mean a shift from the kind of experience they want to provide to their users.
As per Blake Chandlee, the company wishes to stay true to retain “the app’s light-hearted and irreverent felling that makes it such a fun place to spend time.” He added, “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.”
In the recent times of ongoing unrest in China due to the Hong Kong protests, TikTok has drawn much scrutiny for censoring posts about the anti-government activities.
Most of the searches for Hong Kong on TikTok came out showing a rather positive image of the reality. Playful selfies, singalong videos and food photos came up showing no hint of the ongoing unrest.
The hashtags that spread like fire on other social media apps barely exist on Douyin. This could be a conscious move by users in Hong Kong as they were aware that any politically fraught content on the app would be closely evaluated by the developers.
Sources said that TikTok came up with proper guidelines that divided the banned material into two sections: part of the content seen as a “violation” is directly deleted from the site. Posting violated content can ban a user from the service. On the other hand, lesser infringements are marked as “visible to self” that allow the user to post the content but limit its viewership through TikTok’s algorithmically-curated feed.
TikTok censors content not just in China but Turkey too. The app bans users in Turkey from making fun of President Recep Erdogan and posting depictions on “non-Islamic gods”. Taking firm stand for the LGBT community, the app has also banned pro-LGBT content.
Blake Chandlee said that the company is working with multiple brands to find ways of including filters, brand partnerships, product features and other things that the developers feel are better fit for the app.
As per reports, TikTok has recently introduced a reverse image search tool that will help users find in-video products like clothing that can be directly purchased from the app. As of now, the app is available to select users on the Chinese version.
Its yet to be seen whether this ban on political content like Hong Kong protest will prevent unrest or leave people unaware of what is actually happening around them.
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