TikTok is adding a new feed dedicated exclusively to science, tech, engineering, and math content — with additional moderation before videos appear in the feed.
The STEM feed will live next to the two existing feeds, Following and For You, and will surface content for users looking specifically for trending science and technology videos. US users will begin to see the feed in the coming weeks.
Not all science and technology content will land on the STEM feed. TikTok says that, in order to be eligible for the feed, videos will need to pass additional layers of vetting by partner organizations focused on trust and safety efforts.
Common Sense Networks will vet content to make sure it’s appropriate for the feed, and Poynter “will assess the reliability of the information presented,” according to TikTok. The company has previously partnered with Common Sense Networks to screen content for age appropriateness.
The addition of a topic-specific curated feed gives one TikTok community a more visible and permanent placement — users who aren’t typically tapped into STEM content would be able to swipe and dive in.
Though TikTok says the feed will be a place to access reliable, entertaining content, science and health have long been topics where misinformation has festered, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. TikTok bans false or misleading content about covid and vaccines under its medical misinformation policy. The company didn’t immediately respond to questions about whether covid or vaccine videos would be part of the STEM feed or how videos would be initially selected — and reviewed — for inclusion.
In February, TikTok appeared to be doing a limited test of similar topic-based feeds, including categories like fashion, sports, and gaming. The company says it’s currently testing topic feeds in select markets.
The update comes at a time when TikTok is under heightened scrutiny from lawmakers over user safety and whether the app poses national security risks. Earlier this month, lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill that would allow the app to be banned, and CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify before Congress on March 23rd.