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TikTok rolls out new in-app 2020 elections guide

And new misinformation and media literacy tools

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

On Tuesday, TikTok plans to launch an in-app guide to the 2020 US election as part of its ongoing efforts to protect the platform from misinformation.

The guide rolls out to users in the US today and is accessible on TikTok’s Discover page or landing pages for certain election-related search results. It will be available in English, Spanish, and “dozens of additional languages,” according to TikTok, and it will offer users information on federal, state, and local candidates powered by BallotReady, a voting information tool. TikTok will also be linking the guide at the bottom of election-related videos posted from verified political accounts.

“On TikTok we’re seeing how people, especially younger voters, are passionate about important issues and are ready to make their voices heard,” Alex Niemczewski, CEO of BallotReady said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re partnering with TikTok for their elections guide because younger voters often do not realize everything that will appear on their ballot, and we believe that TikTok can help them vote their entire ballot.”

The guide will also provide instructions on how to vote, with information from the National Association of Secretaries of State, and additional media literacy and educational voting misinformation tools. TikTok will also use the guide to provide voting resources to people with disabilities, those voting overseas, students, and information for people with past convictions.

“Our elections guide is built with user privacy in mind, so a user must visit the website for a state or a non-profit for anything that involves sharing their information, including registering to vote,” Michael Beckerman, TikTok vice president and head of US public policy, said in a blog post Tuesday. “Interactions with this guide in our app have no bearing on future TikTok experiences, such as recommendations or ads.”

Over the last few months, conspiracy-laden content involving the coronavirus pandemic and the QAnon conspiracy theory has littered the platform. Earlier this summer, TikTok moved to block QAnon hashtags in response. In August, TikTok banned deepfakes and rolled out additional content moderation policies to curb misinformation ahead of the election.