Starting Wednesday, TikTok is expanding its elections rules to make it harder for politicians and political groups to fundraise using the platform — and plans to ban all fundraising activity soon. The changes come only six weeks before the November midterm elections.
In a blog post, TikTok’s president of global business solutions, Blake Chandlee, said the company would immediately turn off all advertising and monetization features, like gifting and tipping, for politicians and parties on the platform. Additionally, accounts belonging to governments, politicians, and political parties will have to apply for verification.
TikTok expects to roll out a sweeping ban on campaign fundraising
“By prohibiting campaign fundraising and limiting access to our monetization features and verifying accounts, we’re aiming to strike a balance between enabling people to discuss the issues that are relevant to their lives while also protecting the creative, entertaining platform that our community wants,” Blake Chandlee, president of global business solutions at TikTok, said in the Wednesday blog post.
Over the next few weeks, TikTok expects to roll out a sweeping ban on campaign fundraising altogether. The ban will prohibit politicians and parties from using the platform to direct viewers to their campaign websites to make donations.
TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza told The Verge on Tuesday that the company plans to enforce these new rules “through a combination of technology and human moderation.”
“We will work with governments, politicians, and political parties to verify their account either when they submit a verification request, or if we identify an account we believe belongs to a government, politician, or political party, we will confirm the authenticity of the account and begin the verification process,” Favazza said.
The move is part of TikTok’s broader election integrity initiatives this year. In August, the company outlined its plans to address the threat of harmful election misinformation, emphasizing an existing policy banning influencers from being paid for posting political content. The company said it would begin publishing educational content for creators and management companies to better inform them of the ban.
TikTok also said it would begin labeling videos that contained false or unconfirmed election-related information.
While TikTok has banned political advertising since 2019, politically-charged content continues to flood the platform. Dozens of Republican and Democratic politicians running for office this year, like John Fetterman, have launched TikTok accounts over the last few months. TikTok’s userbase skews younger than other major social media sites, making it a key platform for candidates seeking the support of youth voters.
A recent study from Tufts University in Massachusetts found that youth voters could disproportionately decide election winners in key battleground states like Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.