TikTok says no to paid political ads for SA elections

  • TikTok has announced local partnerships as we get closer to the 2024 national elections on 29th May.
  • The social media platform is partnering with the Electoral Commission of South Africa, Africa Check, and Code for Africa.
  • It says it will continue to enforce its policy preventing the spread of paid political misinformation.

We are a little over one month before eligible South African citizens head to the polls for the 2024 national elections.

As we get closer to 29th May, the politicking efforts from parties across the country have ramped up significantly, and aiming to do its part for the elections is TikTok, which has outlined what its role will be, along with announcing three key partnerships.

Regarding the former, TikTok has confirmed that it will continue to enforce its existing policy when it comes to paid political ads.

“TikTok also has a long-standing policy of not allowing paid political advertising, and accounts belonging to politicians or political parties are not able to advertise or make money on TikTok,” the social media platform noted in a release shared with Hypertext.

As for the partnerships that TikTok has entered ahead of the elections, it has set up an in-app Election Centre with the help of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).  

“Through this dedicated in-app centre available in local languages such as isiZulu, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana and English, users will gain access to a wealth of information from reliable sources,” said TikTok.

“In order to maximise the visibility and accessibility of our in-app centre, we have implemented labels on content associated with the 2024 general elections. These labels also serve as direct links to the centre, enabling viewers to access comprehensive information about the elections with a simple click. Additionally, we will facilitate access to popular election hashtags, ensuring that users searching for related content can effortlessly find and engage with relevant information,” added Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, TikTok’s Public Policy and Government Relations director.

The other partnerships include a media literacy campaign with third-party organisation Africa Check and a fact checking functionality powered by Code For Africa.

“Local creators have contributed educational videos in English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, isiXhosa, and sign language, accompanied by English subtitles, ensuring accessibility and engagement across diverse communities. These videos will provide community members with the tools they need to become more savvy digital citizens, empowering them to engage meaningfully in the democratic process while simultaneously promoting creativity, safety and civility,” says TikTok of the media literacy campaign.

“Partners assess whether a claim is true, false, or unsubstantiated so that moderators can take the right action based on TikTok’s Community Guidelines. They also share intelligence that helps us detect harmful misinformation and anticipate potential misinformation spreading on TikTok and on other platforms,” it added regarding the fact checking.

With the 2016 US presidential elections showcasing how influential social media can be, as well as how easily it can be used for manipulation, it will be interesting to see how effective these newly announced initiatives will be for SA’s national elections in five weeks’ time.

[Image – Provided]


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