The company first announced the labels in response to the war in Ukraine, saying it was “expediting” the rollout of the program with the pilot in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Several government-controlled Russian outlets like RT, RIA Novosti, and TASS have been labeled under the policy so far.
Now, TikTok will expand the labels to 40 markets beginning immediately, with more to come in the future. The criteria for the label take into consideration things like editorial independence, coverage, journalistic conduct, and funding. The US, Canada, China, France, and Japan are among the countries that will get the labels initially.
TikTok says it is also adding a way for outlets to appeal the label if they believe the designation is incorrect. TikTok says outlets can submit proof of editorial independence, which will then be evaluated by outside experts.
In the lead-up to the war in Ukraine, Russian state-controlled media outlets used TikTok to spread disinformation, and the platform was flooded with content about the war, often lacking context or sourcing.
Other platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have similar labels identifying state-controlled media outlets. Others, like Reddit, have gone further by banning links to Russian state media following the invasion. TikTok previously restricted access to Russian state media in Europe.
Update January 18th 8:48AM ET: Added countries that are part of the first phase of the expanded rollout.