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TikTok Wants You to Pause Before Watching State-Controlled Media

The social media company is expanding its policy to label accounts controlled or influenced by governments to over 40 more countries.

TikTok logo on a phone screen
TikTok is adding labels to state-affiliated media in more places.
James Martin/CNET

TikTok is now labeling state-affiliated media in more than 40 new markets, including the US, Canada and much of Europe, the social media company said Wednesday. It's an extension of a pilot program run in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine in 2022.

TikTok said its policy is to label accounts "whose editorial output or decision-making process is subject to control or influence by a government." The policy will be expanded even further at a later date, the company said. Accounts labeled as state affiliated will have an opportunity to appeal.

When users scroll to a video from an account with TikTok's state-controlled label, they'll get a pop-up disclaimer advising them to pause and consider whether the content is pushing an agenda favorable to a government. 

Two phone screens showing TikTok's pop-up disclaimer label for state-controlled media as well as a page explaining the policy.

TikTok began rolling out its label for content from state-affiliated media to over 40 additional countries in January 2023.

TikTok

TikTok says it partners with independent experts to identify which accounts should be considered controlled by governments, and considers a variety of factors like the publication's mission, funding, staff and leadership, and editorial guidelines when determining whether users should be alerted about the account's content. Getting funding from governments doesn't automatically qualify an account for the label, depending on editorial protections.

The move comes as TikTok faces growing scrutiny in the US, with several universities, states and the federal government considering or enacting bans against the app on some devices. 

Here's the full list of countries that TikTok's state-affiliated media policy is being expanded to: Afghanistan, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uzbekistan.