Supplementary written evidence submitted by TikTok

 

 

 

22 February 2022

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee             

 

Thank you for your letter requesting some additional points of information following our committee appearance on the 18th of January. We were pleased to be able to contribute to the inquiry and we look forward to seeing the full report once it is complete.

 

Each issue raised is taken in turn below and we have also provided some further detail on our action on scams and ads, given the committee's interest in this area.

 

A statement about your implementation of the requirements of France’s 2020 law regulating the commercial exploitation of the image of children under sixteen on online platforms, termed the “Exploitation Bill”

We understand that the French legislation is in place to remind online platforms of their responsibility to protect minors online. We already take steps in the UK to inform and educate our younger users on sharing their personal data online and provide for the erasure of personal data from within the app.

This reflects the fact that online safety is a key priority for TikTok. Users who are under the age of 13 are not allowed on our platform and we are committed to removing underage users, these numbers of which we publish through our quarterly Community Guidelines Enforcement Report.  We work to design an age-appropriate environment for our users, and we have taken a number of steps to ensure users are made aware of our policies through resources available in-app (via the settings and privacy section).

 

With specific regard to the French law, we understand that the law calls on platforms to adopt charters aimed at outlining how they will approach content created by under 16, and that platforms honour minors' requests to have their data removed. As the Committee will be aware, the law has not yet been implemented in full and the French Broadcasting authority (ARCOM) has only recently begun to consult online platforms to discuss the charters and what they will contain. My colleagues in France are meeting regularly with the Broadcasting Authority and the Ministry of Health as part of this process.

 

 

A comprehensive list of your influencer/creator revenue sharing mechanisms, including data on uptake and per-capita income for influencers/creators in each scheme

TikTok does not currently offer UK creators mechanisms which provide them with a share of third party revenue. We do, however, make available some features for creators to monetise their content. We launched our Creator Next initiative (described in detail below) in December 2021. For creators who wish to collaborate directly with brands, we established the Creator Marketplace. The TikTok Creator Marketplace is the official collaboration platform to connect brands and creators on TikTok. With TikTok Creator Marketplace, creators can collaborate with brands on both paid and reward-based campaigns.  TikTok does not have direct involvement in these collaborations as the brands work directly with the creators and therefore, we do not have data to share regarding any revenue made from these collaborations.  

 

Looking forward, we will continue to seek to find the best solutions TikTok creators can use to monetise their content and would be happy to provide updates to the Committee as we roll out new initiatives.  

 

An account of the support systems that are available to influencers/creators from your platform, such as care teams or agents, what services they provide, and who is eligible for access

In order to understand what support our creators want and need to carry out their performance on the platform, we have had detailed conversations with creators to understand how we can better support their journey on TikTok including through our Creator Councils.

 

Through this we found there was a common theme that creators want tools that allow them to tailor the way in which people engage with their content. We currently do this in two primary ways: first via our Community Guidelines and tools, which creators can use to make them feel most comfortable using the app; and secondly, via our Creator Portal which contains educational content about safety, monetising content, content creation essentials etc.

 

Our Community Guidelines define a set of norms and common code of conduct for TikTok; they provide guidance on what is and is not allowed to make a welcoming space for everyone. Meanwhile, our platform includes built in tools or 'safety by design' features including:

Our creator portal focuses on providing advice ranging from how to get started on TikTok and key product features, to understanding our Community Guidelines and safety, and how to get paid to create. The portal is updated regularly to reflect new product developments, trends and safety advice.

 

In addition to this support, which is generally available to all creators, we offer more support to creators who reach specific milestones as listed on our website. These creators become eligible to take part in our managed partner programme and gain access to Creator Next. Creators in the managed partner programme are allocated a "Creator Manager" who acts as a touchpoint within our business, with responsibility to establish contact with creators in the programme, open a dialogue and act as their face and voice to our internal teams to help build out creator support initiatives. More information about Creator next is set out in this link.

 

Information on your diversity schemes, such as the ‘Black Trailblazers programme’ and others, including how they work and progress metrics

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is embedded in everything we do at TikTok. We want to create a truly equitable and inclusive culture within our community where creators are empowered to share diverse ideas and views; and feel a strong sense of belonging.

 

As mentioned at the committee hearing, in September 2021, we announced and launched our Black Creator Trailblazers programme, a new initiative designed to nurture and develop 30 talented, emerging Black creators, musicians and artists, further celebrating the thriving Black creative community on TikTok. Our partners have committed £100k in media and brand partnerships to the Trailblazers as they begin their careers in the creative industries.

 

This new cohort of creators will also benefit from a series of bespoke educational events, workshops, and community-building forums with some of today's most impactful and influential Black entrepreneurs and industry experts across music, entertainment, culture, and business. The workshops will focus on topics including developing your own brand, understanding how a film studio works and an introduction to the "creator economy".  As this programme has only launched, we do not have metrics to share at this stage but would be happy to provide that to the Committee at a later date.

Looking more broadly and to support our commitment to diversity, we launch our UK Creator Council in March 2021. This is all about ensuring that we have direct feedback from our community on the issues they care about most. The rotating selection of 10 creators, which change every 6 months, reflect the diversity of our community, covering everything from education and sport to comedy and cooking. This direct dialogue ensures direct representation and honest conversation.

 

Further information on ads & financial scams

We also wanted to set out in a bit more detail our policies and action on frauds and scam ads, particularly in relation to financial ads where we have taken proactive action to protect our users and creators.

 

Advertisers who purchase advertising inventory  ("Paid Ads") are required to comply with our ad policies and laws and regulations, and all ads are reviewed against these strict ad policies before being displayed on our platform.

 

In addition, TikTok requires advertisers of financial services to be registered with the FCA / PRA. TikTok undertakes this review for FSMA regulated activities, as well as payment and e-money services, which are outside the financial promotion regime. We took this step proactively in September 2020 and require firms across the UK and Europe to be authorised by the FCA and its equivalents across Europe.  We were the first platform to require this level of verification.

 

We took this industry-leading move because we believe that ensuring all regulated activities are promoted only by authorised firms through Paid Ads is essential for the protection of users.

 

Education

In addition to our policies and preventative action, we also carry out campaigns and work with third parties to alert users to risks from online fraud. We recently partnered with Media Smart to produce a collection of new resources to help 13-17-year-olds understand how advertising works on the platform, as well as the best ways to keep safe.  The resources have been designed for teachers to use in schools to equip young people coming to TikTok with the tools to identify advertising content from brands on the platform, and to better spot when they are consuming marketing messages.

 

We work closely with the ASA to understand how we can best educate our brands and creators on the regulations they need to follow to ensure compliance with the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) code. Indeed, we recently worked with 9 TikTok creators to help raise awareness of the CAP Code and, via the ASA's TikTok account, launched a series of videos aimed at informing creators about the advertising rules. Our creators created a series of fun yet informative videos which allowed us to bring our community closer to the work the ASA is doing. Importantly the videos are helping to make the CAP Code come alive for creators by helping to make some of the key CAP Code rules more accessible.

We strongly believe user education is an effective intervention to build financial literacy and reduce the risk of fraud and scams. In summer 2021 TikTok launched a new media literacy campaign called #FactCheckYourFeed to equip our community with the skills they need to critically engage with content, navigate our platform safely and guard themselves against potential harms.  As part of the campaign, we worked with Citizens Advice to promote financial literacy messaging, working with creators such as Dragon Den’s Tej Lavani (Dragons Den), Emmy Dent and Poku Banks to share engaging, authoritative content such as “Does this really make sense?”, “How to spot scams”, and “is it too good to be true?”

 

We do hope that the above information has been useful to the work of the Committee.

 

Regards,

 

Liz Kanter

Director Government Relations