Move over, Facebook, there’s a new app in town. TikTok — a social media platform known for its 15-second videos — is the fastest growing social media platform in the world. In just three years, TikTok has attracted 732 million users globally, which is nearly a third the size of Facebook. Yet, it’s failing to learn from many of Facebook’s mistakes.
|The one thing they have learned from Facebook is how to ‘talk the talk’ in order to avoid scrutiny that could tarnish their brand and threaten their business model. For example, TikTok likely tried to avoid making ads on their platform transparent by claiming that they ban all political ads. But one thing we’ve learned from scrutinising big tech companies over the past years is that you can’t just listen to what they say, you have to look at what they do.
And when we dug deeper into TikTok, guess what we found?
Political ads. We found that influencers across the political spectrum are being supported by political organizations to spread their views to the masses. And because TikTok claims to not accept political ads, we found that they have few safeguards in place to stop it — leaving the door open for disinformation and political influence to run rampant.
Sign our petition telling TikTok to make ads transparent now.
Through numerous elections around the world, Mozilla supporters have campaigned for political ad transparency to prevent disinformation and election interference. And together, we’ve made platforms like Facebook listen up and take real action.
Now we need to direct our efforts towards TikTok. While they might still be the new kid on the block, they have a massive global reach and their lax policies and practices on political ads makes them an appealing platform for dark money groups trying to spread their influence under the radar.
Our research looked at how this played out in the US elections last November — and now we need to stop it from happening again. Important elections are happening around the world this year—including a big one in Germany this September — which is why it’s critical that we get out in front of this problem and push TikTok to act now.
Will you sign our petition telling TikTok to step up their efforts?