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TikTok plans to add labels to ‘some’ state-controlled media

TikTok plans to add labels to ‘some’ state-controlled media


It’s part of a broader state media policy

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It’s piloting a state media policy.
It’s piloting a state media policy.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

TikTok has announced that it’ll start putting labels on videos from “some” state-controlled media outlets as it starts rolling out its new state media policy. According to a news post from the company, it is “expediting” its plans for piloting the policy due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The company says it started working on the policy last year. Users can expect the labels to start appearing within the next few days, according to the post.

A TikTok spokesperson told The Verge via email that the labels would be applied to at least some Russian state media accounts but didn’t specify which ones or how many. The Verge confirmed that at least one Russian state-controlled outlet, RT, has a verified account on TikTok. The spokesperson also said that the labels would be visible “globally” after they roll out.

Platforms like YouTube and twitter have had state media labels for a while

Many social media platforms have had similar labels for a while — YouTube added them in 2018, and Twitter and Facebook started applying them in 2020.

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many platforms have moved against content from Russian state-controlled media like RT and Sputnik — Reddit banned links to the outlets, Facebook and YouTube have blocked their content in Europe (as did TikTok, according to the Wall Street Journal), and a host of other companies have made their stories harder to get at in various ways.

In turn, the Russian government has announced that it’ll block Facebook in its borders, citing “discrimination against Russian media and information resources.” The country’s communications agency also demanded answers from TikTok about why certain stories from a state news agency were removed.