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TikTok launches US elections guide to combat misinformation

Politics is a hot topic even on a short-form video app known for dancing and lip syncing.

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TikTok, a short-form video app, created a US elections guide that includes information about voting and political candidates. 

TikTok

TikTok said Tuesday that it's rolling out a guide within the short-form video app that will show users trustworthy information about the upcoming US elections.

The release of TikTok's US elections guide is in line with how other social networks are trying to combat political misinformation ahead of the US elections in November. Other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, also created an online hub for election content to direct people to authoritative sources. 

TikTok, known for quirky dance and lip syncing videos, has also become a place where people across the political spectrum chat about politics. But like other social networks it also grapples with moderating content on its site including hate speech and misinformation. This year, TikTok blocked hashtags about a far-right conspiracy theory called QAnon that falsely claims that there's a "deep state" plot against President Donald Trump and his supporters, but videos about the topic were still in the app, according to BBC

The elections guide on TikTok will include information from sources such as the National Association of Secretaries of State, BallotReady and SignVote. TikTok's 100 million US users will see content about federal, state and local candidates. There will also be educational videos about misinformation, media literacy, the elections process and how to vote, TikTok said. The guide will be available in English, Spanish and dozens of other languages.

TikTok users will be able to find this elections guide in the app's Discover page and by searching for election-related topics. TikTok will also be linking to the guide at the bottom of election-related videos and on videos from verified political accounts, the company said.

Interacting with this US elections guide, TikTok said, will "have no bearing on future TikTok experiences, such as recommendations or ads." 

New downloads of TikTok were set to be barred Sunday, but a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction that blocked the ban from taking effect on that day. Lawyers for TikTok argued that banning new downloads of the app ahead of the elections would "be no different from the government locking the doors to a public forum." The Trump administration targeted TikTok because it's owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. The US government said it's worried TikTok could be used to spy on Americans but TikTok said it wouldn't turn over US user data to the Chinese government even if it were asked to do so. Oracle and Walmart are working on a deal with TikTok and ByteDance that could prevent broader restrictions on the app from taking place in November.