TikTok Launches “Elections Center” To Combat Misinformation

TikTok announced its midterms Election Center will go live in the app in the U.S. starting August 17, 2022, where it will be available to users in more than 40 languages, including English and Spanish, TechCrunch reported.

According to TechCrunch, the new feature will allow TikTok users to access state-by-state election information, including details on how to register to vote, how to vote by mail, how to find your polling place and more, provided by TikTok partner NASS (the National Association of Secretaries of State).

TikTok also newly partnered with Ballotpedia to allow users to see who’s on their ballot, and is working with various assistance programs – including the Center for Democracy in Deaf America (for deaf voters), the Federal Voting Assistance Program (overseas voting), the Campus Vote Project (students) and Restore Your Vote (people with past convictions) – to provide content for specific groups. The AP will continue to provide the latest election results in the Elections Center.

TikTok posted a Safety post titled: “Our commitment to election integrity”. It was written by Eric Han, Head of US Safety. From the post:

At TikTok, we take our responsibility to protect the integrity of our platform – particularly around elections – with the utmost seriousness. We’re proud to be a place that brings people together over creative and entertaining content, and we work hard to keep harmful misinformation and other violations of our policies off our platform. As the US midterm elections continue, we’re sharing more on the work we’re doing to protect our community during this time.

Here are some things TikTok says it will do:

Promoting digital literacy skills and education. TikTok says its in-app center will feature videos that encourage our community to think critically about content they see online, as well as information about voting in the election.

Users will be directed away from TikTok for any action that requires a user to share information, such as registering to vote. Users will be directed way from TikTok onto the website for the state or relevant non-profit in order to carry out that process. TikTok will not have access to any of that off-platform data or activity.

TikTok will also add labels to content identified as being related to the 2022 midterm elections as well as content belonging to governments, politicians, and political parties in the US. These labels will allow viewers to click through to TikTok’s center and get information about the elections in their state.

TikTok will provide access on popular elections hashtags, like #elections2022 and #midtermelections, so that anyone searching for that content will be able to easily access the center. Users can also use TikTok’s tools to automatically filter our videos with words or hashtags they don’t want to see in their For You or Following feeds.

It appears that TikTok is actually going to put some effort into preventing its site from becoming a quagmire of political misinformation. TikTok appears to have done its homework and connected with reliable sources of political information. My hope is that these efforts will work. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for users of a social media site to get angry whenever something is put in place that prevents them from easily spreading election misinformation.