Last month, TikTok updated its community guidelines to add policies that prohibit videos with climate change misinformation on the app. As The Daily Beast notes, the change is taking effect today, April 21st. According to the service's announcement, TikTok will no longer allow content that "undermines well-established scientific consensus" regarding the climate crisis.
TikTok will still allow videos that tackle discussions about climate change, such as government policies related to it, as long as they don't go against scientific consensus. However, it will start deleting content that violate its new policy today, and any user searching for climate information will be directed to "authoritative information" that TikTok had decided on in partnership with the United Nations.
Back in 2022, internet trust researchers at NewsGuard have published a report about misinformation. They had found that TikTok is full of false information about, among other topics, climate change, and looking for the term brings up search suggestions like "climate change debunked" and "climate change doesn’t exist." During the height of the pandemic, looking for COVID-19 videos would also bring up suggestions that include "covid vaccine hiv." In addition, misinformation was especially prevalent during the presidential election season in the US. TikTok had ended up removing over 300,000 election-related videos and over 50,000 videos sharing COVID-19 misinformation.
When TikTok introduced its new policy regarding climate change, it also added new rules covering AI tech that creates content. All digitally manipulated or created media on TikTok must now come with the appropriate tag, such as "synthetic," "fake" or "altered."