As China cracks down on unrest in Hong Kong and the U.S. presidential election nears, TikTok says it's banning political ads.
The popular app is owned by Beijing ByteDance Technology Co Ltd., a Chinese Internet technology company that operates several machine learning-enabled content platforms.
WHAT ADS ARE BANNED? Any paid content that promotes or opposes a candidate, current leader, political party or group, or any issue at the federal, state, or local level, including election-related ads, advocacy ads, or issue ads, per TikTok.
"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," says Blake Chandlee, TikTok's VP of Global Business Solutions, who left Facebook recently to join the Chinese-owned social media platform.
"To that end, we will not allow 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," he added.
TikTok wants to be known as a "positive, refreshing environment" that inspires creativity, reports Sarah Perez at TechCrunch:
"Throughout all of this, however, our primary focus is on creating an entertaining, genuine experience for our community," Chandlee continues. "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," he says.
Political ads don't fit with this agenda, the company believes.
TikTok has been widely criticized for promoting the Chinese government's military and foreign policy programs by censoring topics such as protests in Hong Kong, and LGBTQIA content.