As social media platforms are under pressure to combat political disinformation ahead of the US midterm elections, TikTok is forbidding politicians and governments from doing campaign fundraising on its platform or utilising any of its other monetization tools. The short-form video app announced in a blog post on Wednesday that it will begin testing “mandatory verification” for all accounts belonging to US politicians, political parties, and government organisations until the conclusion of the midterm elections in November.

Political advertising, including sponsored political influencer videos, is already prohibited on the platform by the business, which is controlled by the China-based ByteDance. However, it said that it will now forbid politicians and political accounts from using the site to request donations or receive gifts or to use its e-commerce features, such as to sell goods. During the epidemic, TikTok had an explosion in popularity, especially among the “Gen Z” group. It has since become a crucial tool for Democratic and Republican politicians looking to connect with younger voters.

But academics and researchers have criticised it, along with other social media outlets like Meta’s Facebook and Twitter, for failing to crack down on false information, conspiracies, and political meddling. Particularly TikTok has been under fire from US politicians about its data practices and the potential of national security if the Chinese government has access to user privacy data, which the business vehemently refutes. Critics have expressed concerns that China may also have an impact on TikTok’s content moderation practices, either by restricting material or by promoting propaganda. TikTok has refuted these accusations.

The new updates, according to TikTok, which describes itself as an “entertainment platform,” were made to guarantee that using the app “remains a pleasant, positive, and cheerful” experience. “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, TikTok’s president of global business solutions, said.

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