- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2023

TikTok is rolling out a “state-controlled media” label in 43 countries in a sweeping transparency effort.

In an announcement Wednesday, the company said it wants its users to better understand where its sources come from.

“Our state-affiliated media policy is to label accounts run by entities whose editorial output or decision-making process is subject to control or influence by a government.” the announcement reads. “Our goal in labeling state-affiliated media is to ensure people have accurate, transparent and actionable context when they engage with content from media accounts that present the viewpoint of a government.”

Companies or individuals who feel the label has been attached to them unjustifiably are able to go through an appeals process with the company.

TikTok has been using the label since March, a month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The program was created in an attempt to crack down on “fake news” concerning the war. Several prominent Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian accounts were labeled “state-controlled media.”

The perceived success of the program has prompted its expansion. Now, users in western countries such as Canada and the United States will see a special label on state-controlled media.

State-run media labels aren’t new to social media platforms. Twitter, for example, has a similar tag attached to posts that are affiliated with international governments. YouTube and Facebook introduced similar policies toward state media in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

The move might not be enough to curb the backlash against TikTok in the U.S. Several states and the House of Representatives have banned the installation of the app on government devices.

The full list of countries where users will see the “state-controlled media” label is as follows:

Afghanistan, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mongolia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.K., U.S. and Uzbekistan.

• Vaughn Cockayne can be reached at vcockayne@washingtontimes.com.

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