Safety Center


Integrity for the US elections

TikTok is a home for entertainment, connection, and expression for 100 million Americans. While that often means light-hearted creative expression, it can also include topics that impact the lives of our community, including political or election-related content. We welcome all expression that fits within our Community Guidelines, which are designed to help us keep TikTok a safe and welcoming place for everyone. 

TikTok isn't a go-to hub for breaking news, and we don't accept paid political ads, but we're focused on supporting our users with education and authoritative information on important public topics like the 2020 US elections. This page is one of many ways we're aiming to be transparent about how we work to keep our community safe from content that may be inauthentic or misleading. Our goal is to help TikTok remain a place where authentic content thrives. 

Collaborating with experts

We believe collaboration helps strengthen our efforts to protect against harm and misuse on our platform, which is why we work with an array of experts and organizations to help us promote safety on TikTok. This includes organizations such as the National Association of State Election Directors, the US Department of Homeland Security, and our Content Advisory Council, an external group of leading experts who provide invaluable feedback on our policies and practices around election misinformation, hate speech, and more.

Through our partnerships with fact-checking organizations, including Politifact, Science Feedback, and Lead Stories, we work to limit the potential for the spread of misinformation on our platform. These organizations work in tandem with our internal investigation and moderation team to help verify election-related misinformation.

We've also partnered with authoritative organizations like the National Association of Secretaries of State and BallotReady to provide our community access to information about the 2020 US elections.

Bringing tools and educational resources to our community

We believe that providing accurate information and educational resources is an important way to combat misinformation. Our in-app guide to the 2020 US elections helps connect TikTok users with authoritative information about the voting process, candidates, and more. Users can navigate to the guide through election-related videos and videos from verified political accounts.

We also provide notices on many election-related hashtag pages to remind people to follow our Community Guidelines, verify facts, and report content they believe may violate our policies. We've made it easy for users to report misleading content directly through our app, and these reports are sent to a dedicated US team that reviews them in accordance with our policies around misinformation.

Additionally, to help our community think critically about the content they create and the content they consume, we've developed educational TikTok videos that provide users with the tools they need to become more savvy digital citizens. 

Enforcing our policies 

We take multiple approaches to protect our users and limit the spread of harmful content and behavior as we work to promote an uplifting and welcoming app environment. 

Our approach: Remove content for violation of our Community Guidelines ⁣

Rationale: When we become aware of content that violates our Community Guidelines, including disinformation or misinformation that causes harm to individuals, our community or the larger public, we remove it in order to foster a safe and authentic app environment.

Related to the elections: Some examples of what we would remove include: false claims that seek to erode trust in public institutions, such as claims of voter fraud resulting from voting by mail or claims that your vote won't count; content that misrepresents the date of an election; attempts to intimidate voters or suppress voting; and more.


Our approach: Redirect search results and hashtags to our Community Guidelines

Rationale: Content and terms associated with content that violate our Community Guidelines may be limited across our platform to promote safety within the app.

Related to the elections: This may include redirecting terms associated with hate speech, incitement to violence, or disinformation around voter fraud, such as ballot harvesting.


Our approach: Reduce content discoverability, including by redirecting search results or making such content ineligible for recommendation into anyone's For You feed

Rationale: Our recommendation system is designed with safety in mind. Some content – including spam, videos under review, or reviewed content depicting things that may be shocking to a general audience that hasn't opted in to such content – may not be eligible for recommendation.

Related to the elections: This includes reviewed content that shares unverified claims, such as a premature declaration of victory before results are confirmed; speculation about a candidate's health; claims relating to polling stations on election day that have not yet been verified; and more. *Beginning in the final weeks leading up to the election, we will err on the side of caution and reduce discoverability of borderline content that shares unverified claims while it is under review by our partners or if fact-checking is inconclusive.


Our approach: No restrictions to this sort of content on the platform 

Rationale: Some content – deemed as educational, scientific, artistic, or newsworthy – can carry value to the public interest. We define public interest as something in which the public as a whole has a stake, and we believe the welfare of the public warrants recognition and protection. However, we do not allow newsworthy content that incites users to violence.

Related to the elections: We may not take action on violating content that is deemed newsworthy. For instance, while we don't allow violent content, we do not take action against content that depicts violence at a protest. 


Our approach: Block the account from future livestreaming

Rationale: TikTok LIVE allows people further avenues for authentic connection with their audience, but users must be over the age of 16 to livestream and are expected to maintain trust with their community. Those who violate our Community Guidelines may lose access to this function.

Related to the elections: A violation may include a livestream that seeks to incite violence or promote hateful ideologies, conspiracies, or disinformation. 


Our approach: Remove the account and its content

Rationale: Users that violate our zero tolerance policies or that have repeated violations may face account bans as they demonstrate a persistent misunderstanding of the platform's code of conduct.

Related to the elections: For example, accounts that are found to be dedicated to the spread of election-related disinformation will be banned.


Our approach: Ban the device, including all linked accounts, and block the ability to create future accounts from that device

Rationale: We employ device bans for the most serious offenders who have violated our policies and demonstrated a refusal to adhere to our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service.

Related to the elections: Devices with multiple accounts that violate our zero tolerance policies, such as a network engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior or election interference. 

Protecting against foreign interference

We work with the Department of Homeland Security's Countering Foreign Influence Task Force (CFITF) to help stop the threat and dangers of foreign influence on elections. We also work with a number of industry-leading threat assessment platforms to bolster our ability to detect inauthentic activity and improve our safeguards against it. 


A refresher on our policies

To help us deliver on our mission to inspire creativity and bring joy, we publish Community Guidelines to clearly outline the kind of content and behavior that is not allowed on TikTok. These policies apply to everyone who uses TikTok and all the content they post. The following are a subset of those which apply most often when it comes to election-related content.

Misleading information 

Content that is intended to deceive or mislead any of our community members endangers our trust-based community. We do not allow such content on our platform. This includes activities such as spamming, impersonation, and disinformation campaigns. While we encourage our users to have respectful conversations about subjects that matter to them, we do not permit misinformation that causes harm to individuals, our community or the larger public.

Do not post:

  • Misinformation that incites hate or prejudice
  • Content that misleads community members about elections or other civic processes 
  • Hoaxes or phishing attempts
  • Digital Forgeries (Synthetic Media or Manipulated Media) that mislead users by distorting the truth of events and cause harm to the subject of the video or society

Do not engage in coordinated inauthentic activities (such as the creation of accounts) to exert influence and sway public opinion while misleading individuals, our community or the larger public about the account's identity, location or purpose

Impersonation

We do not allow users to impersonate other individuals or organizations in order to deceive the public. When we confirm reports of impersonation, we remove the violating accounts. We do allow exceptions for parody, commentary, or fan accounts, as long as the account does not mislead others with regard to its identity or purpose on TikTok.

Do not post as another person or organization by using someone else's name, biographical details, or profile picture in a misleading manner

Spam

Content or activity that seeks to artificially inflate popularity on the platform is prohibited. We also prohibit any attempts to manipulate platform mechanisms to increase interaction metrics. 

Do not operate multiple TikTok accounts under false or fraudulent pretenses, including coordinated attempts to manufacture inauthentic activity, distribute commercial spam, or otherwise coordinate a scaled violation of TikTok policies

Hate speech 

We do not tolerate content that attacks or incites violence against an individual or a group of individuals on the basis of protected attributes. We do not allow content that includes hate speech, and we remove it from our platform. We also suspend or ban accounts that have multiple hate speech violations. 

Do not post content that dehumanizes or incites violence or hatred against individuals or groups, based on the attributes listed above, including but not limited to: 

  • claiming that they are physically or morally inferior
  • calling for or justifying violence against them
  • claiming that they are criminals
  • referring negatively to them as animals, inanimate objects, or other non-human entities 
  • promoting or justifying exclusion, segregation, or discrimination against them

Hateful ideologies are incompatible with the inclusive and supportive community that our platform provides. We remove content that promotes hateful ideologies. 
Do not post: 

  • Content that promotes any hateful ideologies by talking positively about or displaying logos, symbols, flags, slogans, uniforms, salutes, gestures, portraits, illustrations, or names of individuals related to these ideologies 
  • Content that denies well-documented and violent events have taken place
  • Music or lyrics that promote hateful ideologies 

Learn more about our efforts to counter hateful speech, groups, and ideologies.

Political advertising 

Ads may not reference, promote, or oppose a candidate for public office, current or former political leader, political party, political organization, or contain content regarding a local, state, or federal issue of public importance. Calls to action from non-profit organizations or government agencies may be allowed, if not driven by partisan political motives. 

Any paid content, including political content that influencers are paid to create, qualifies as an ad and must follow our ad guidelines. It is the responsibility of marketers and influencers to follow FTC guidelines in disclosing content as paid, but if we become aware of paid political content from influencers that hasn’t been disclosed as paid, it will also be removed.


Tracking our progress

We know there will be questions of all social and content platforms during this time, and our goal is to be transparent about the steps we're taking to protect the integrity of our platform and the elections. Check back to find some of the key ways we're working to safeguard our platform during this time.

Wednesday, October 21
We're monitoring for voter intimidation content that the FBI has reported is from Iran and would remove such content that violates our disinformation policy. We've proactively added this content to our disinformation hashbank so that attempts to upload it will automatically be limited and flagged for moderation. We're also watching for content that purports to show "Proud Boys IT" hacking state voter registration sites, and will remove it if found. Note that content that promotes or glorifies Proud Boys still is not allowed under our hateful ideologies policy.

Tuesday, October 20
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Monday, October 19
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Sunday, October 18
We're removing content with false claims that poll workers who write on election ballots jeopardize a ballot's validity.

Saturday, October 17
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Friday, October 16
Because we don’t allow political ads on TikTok, we removed paid political content from influencers that was sponsored by Bigtent Creative but not disclosed as paid. As a reminder, any paid content qualifies as an ad and must be disclosed as paid and follow our ad guidelines. We will continue this policy of removing paid influencer content that violates our ad guidelines as we become aware of it.

Thursday, October 15
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Wednesday, October 14
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Tuesday, October 13
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Monday, October 12
We're removing content that incorrectly affiliates a recent shooting in Denver with antifa, which violates our disinformation policy. We're also removing manipulated content that purports to show Chris Wallace visiting Jeffrey Epstein's island for violating our manipulated media policy.

Sunday, October 11
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Saturday, October 10
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Friday, October 9
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Thursday, October 8
Regarding the news of a plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan, we preemptively banned an account to reduce potential glorification of harm or martyrdom. This is in line with our policies on dangerous individuals and organizations. We continue to remove hate groups, extremists, and content that promotes hateful ideologies and speech.

Wednesday, October 7
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Tuesday, October 6 
No material new behavior or shifts in content observed on our platform.

Monday, October 5
We began removing claims that President Trump was carrying portable oxygen device while heading to Walter Reed for violating our disinformation policy, and we'll continue to do so as we identify such content. 

Friday, October 2
We added an in-app PSA on hashtag pages relating to President Trump and COVID-19 to remind users to verify facts with authoritative sources, follow our Community Guidelines, and report content they believe might violate our policies. To clarify, content that wishes the death of a person, including the President, violates our policies against bullying, and we will remove such content.

Thursday, October 1 
We don't allow hate groups, content that promotes hate groups, or incitement to violence on our platform, and we removed such content. Since a known hate group was mentioned during the first presidential debate (note: as a policy, we try to not repeat names of groups or individuals, to reduce notoriety), we reviewed associated search results and hashtags and found the majority of the content relating to this group on our platform appeared to be counterspeech, and we stand with our community standing against hate. 


From our Newsroom

TikTok launches in-app guide to the US 2020 elections

Combating misinformation and election interference on TikTok

Countering hate on TikTok

TikTok's "Be Informed" series stars TikTok creators to educate users about media literacy

How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou

Building to support content, account, and platform integrity