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TikTok Wades Into US Election

In a move that likely will not endear it to the Trump administration but will bolster its free speech claims, TikTok is rolling out an in-app guide to the upcoming US elections.

The guide, available in dozens of languages including English and Spanish, will provide trusted election information from a number of organisations, including candidate details from BallotReady; instructions on how to vote in each state from the National Association of Secretaries of State; and resources on media literacy and misinformation from MediaWise.

The guide will be accessible from TikTok’s Discover page and on election-related search results; it will also be linked at the bottom of videos about the election and videos from verified political accounts.

According to Michael Beckerman, VP, Head of US Public Policy at TikTok, the company does not accept paid political ads and does not expect the app to become a go-to for breaking news or politics.

“Still, we know TikTok is a home where Americans express themselves – and with that in mind, we’re focused on supporting our users with education and authoritative information on important public issues.

“Our goal is to keep TikTok a place where authentic content can thrive, and our elections guide reflects our ongoing efforts to protect the integrity of our platform and the US elections,” he said.

TikTok is at the centre of a political bunfight between Washington and Beijing, with President Donald Trump seeking to ban the short video app on national security grounds unless Chinese owner ByteDance finds a US buyer. A judge this week blocked part of the looming ban, citing potential violations of users’ First Amendment rights and criticising the government for “overstepping its authority”.

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