TikTok says it won't allow any political ads on its platform

The video-sharing app won't allow political ads of any kind on its platform.

October 4, 2019, 11:46 AM

As the 2020 presidential election nears, TikTok, the wildly popular video-sharing app among young people, said it will not allow any political ads on its platform.

"While we explore ways to provide value to brands, we're intent on always staying true to why users uniquely love the TikTok platform itself: for the app's light-hearted and irreverent feeling that makes it such a fun place to spend time," TikTok's vice president for Global Business Solutions Blake Chandlee said in a blogpost on their website explaining their policies for paid ads.

The video-sharing social media app, which reportedly has 500 million users, has become an especially popular place for young people to share DIY music videos.

"In that spirit, we have chosen not to allow political ads on TikTok," Chandlee added. "Any paid ads that come into the community need to fit the standards for our platform, and the nature of paid political ads is not something we believe fits the TikTok platform experience."

The logo of TikTok application is seen on a mobile phone screen in this picture illustration taken Feb. 21, 2019.
Danish Siddiqui/Reuters/Illustration/FILE

This includes any 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," Chandlee said.

TikTok's decision comes at a time when apps and tech giants have faced increased scrutiny for their roles in the spread of information each election year.

Last month, Snapchat unveiled a political ads database that would let users see who was behind the political ads they were viewing in the app -- including who created it, the targeting criteria, impressions and more.

In August, Facebook announced it was also tightening its rules surrounding political ads ahead of the 2020 election, forcing advertisers to confirm their group's identity using a tax identification number (or other government ID) and including "paid for by" disclaimers, according to the Associated Press.