While other social networks grapple with complex issues of political speech, growing video platform TikTok has decided not to allow political ads of any kind. We’ll have to see how that ban works in practice, as the company’s list of disallowed material includes “paid ads that promote or oppose a candidate, current leader, political party or group, or issue at the federal, state, or local level – including election-related ads, advocacy ads, or issue ads.”
The Beijing-based app said in a statement that “the nature” of political ads don’t fit its experience. As TechCrunch notes, it may not have the infrastructure to develop a verification system of the type that Facebook has built to try and manage political advertising, and notes that this statement reiterates the company’s existing advertising policy.
But the bigger it gets, the more people will ask questions about how censorship, moderation and politics play into the platform’s decisions, and now there’s a clear statement on at least one angle of its approach.