TikTok has kicked off a new user-safety video series, enlisting several big creators on the platform, pushing the message that users should be wary about spreading false information on the app.
The video series, called “Be Informed,” provides advice on how to evaluate content online and use those skills and TikTok’s in-app features to help protect against the inadvertent spread of misleading information. Top TikTokkers the company tapped for the PSAs include @shreksdumpster, @cosette, @gabe, @leethe4th, @chemteacherphil, @josiah.hughes, @tylerjoe and @hi_im_chewie (a popular account featuring an adorable Pomeranian dog).
The point is “to encourage people to think critically about what they see – whether on our app or anywhere online – in a fun, lighthearted way,” said Kudzi Chikumbu, TikTok’s director of creator community.
TikTok is launching the campaign amid the backdrop of U.S. government threats to ban the app over security concerns, because TikTok is owned and operated by Beijing-based ByteDance. TikTok, now led by ex-Disney exec Kevin Mayer, has hired a “small army of more than 35 lobbyists,” including one with “deep ties” to Donald Trump, to try to downplay TikTok’s ties to China in meetings with U.S. lawmakers and officials, the New York Times reported.
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In that light, the new PSAs from TikTok can be viewed in part as an effort for the company to show it’s being a good internet citizen. Chikumbu said with the “Be Informed” campaign, the company is “reiterating our commitment to safety on TikTok.” The user-awareness initiative is in addition to other steps TikTok takes to address misinformation on the platform, including moderators that review and take down violating content.
“The safety of our users is of the utmost importance,” Chikumbu said.
Sarah Lugor, aka @shreksdumpster, is a 19-year-old TikTok comedy star with 2.3 million followers, who is featured in three of the PSAs. “For me, learning is a big thing – questioning everything around you is important,” she said when asked about why was participating in the TikTok safety video series.
“The message is: be yourself, but be safe, and be authentic,” Lugor said.
Sarah Lugo, aka @shreksdumpster, in TikTok’s “Question Your Bias” PSA
The “Be Informed” campaign follows on a PSA campaign TikTok launched last year focused on the app’s safety features. The company said it teamed with the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) for the “Be Informed” series. With the pandemic, TikTok shot the videos entirely remotely, with influencers taking virtual direction and filming themselves from home.
The full “Be Informed” video series is available on the @TikTokTips account. Here are videos featuring TikTok creators in the campaign:
- “Question the Source” asks users to find out who is authoring the content that they see (featuring @cosette and @gabe)
- “Question the Graphics” challenges the TikTok community to analyze the visual images they come across (featuring @josiah.hughes and @tylerjoe)
- “Question Your Bias” reminds users to consider how their experiences influence what they believe (@shreksdumpster and @cosette)
- “When to Share vs. When to Report” encourages users to reflect on whether the content they want to share should be shared (featuring @leethe4th, @tylerjoe, @hi_im_chewie and @shreksdumpster)
- “Fact vs. Opinion” helps users determine whether statements are expressing truths or beliefs (featuring @chemteacherphil, @shreksdumpster, and @josiah.hughes)