The popular short-form video app will no longer run ads from politicians or candidates at any level of government because “the nature of paid political ads is not something we believe fits the TikTok platform experience,” TikTok’s VP of global business solutions, Blake Chandlee, announced in a blog post Thursday. This ban also covers “election-related ads, advocacy ads, or issue ads.”
And it’s true, TikTok didn’t become the fourth-largest social media platform in record time by facilitating debate and political discussions; we can already yell at each other on Facebook and Twitter for that. No, most users log on to TikTok to post silly lip-sync videos or their take on the newest trending hashtag, and if politics are mentioned it’s usually in reference to whatever’s the latest viral meme.
While TikTok has only begun experimenting with paid ad formats, Chandlee wrote that, throughout the process, the company is committed to preserving “the app’s light-hearted and irreverent feeling” that makes users want to spend their time there in the first place. Political ads often loaded with barbs aimed at tearing down opposing candidates just don’t vibe with that.