The Daily Telegraph
Political fundraising banned by Tiktok ahead of US elections
TIKTOK has banned political fundraising worldwide ahead of the US midterm elections, amid fears the Chineseowned app could be caught up in allegations of foreign interference.
Accounts owned by politicians and political parties have been blocked from accessing advertising features on the video-sharing app. Tiktok is also trialling compulsory verification for accounts belonging to governments, politicians and parties, it said.
The moves highlight Tiktok’s nerves over potential political controversies after Donald Trump’s 2020 suggestion of banning it from operating in the US.
Mr Trump said he viewed Tiktok as a national security threat owing to its ownership by Chinese company Bytedance. Concerns over Tiktok’s wide reach and access to personal data have since spread across the political spectrum in the US, however.
Political advertising was already prohibited, but now politicians are banned from accessing monetisation features such as gifting, tipping, and e-commerce that could be used for fundraising. Infringers could have videos deleted by moderators or be blocked from accessing Tiktok altogether.
Tiktok said: “By prohibiting campaign fundraising and limiting access to our monetisation 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.”
A spokesman for the Chinese-owned business said no specific incident had prompted the move. It cited the threat of “harmful misinformation”, in an echo of the wave of Russian-backed manipulation that engulfed Facebook during the 2016 presidential election.
Attempts by Mr Trump to force the sale of Tiktok’s Western business to Microsoft or another US tech company fell through amid opposition from the Chinese government, which described it as a “smash-and-grab raid”. Joe Biden, Mr Trump’s successor, reversed orders that would have forced its sale.