Thai politicians banned from using TikTok to woo voters

However, TikTok Thailand’s chief of public policy said if the content is created by a political party’s fan club, TikTok will not ban it because the platform respects freedom of speech.

Nongluck Ajanapanya

Nongluck Ajanapanya

The Nation


February 22, 2023

BANGKOK – Chanida Klyphun, TikTok Thailand’s chief of public policy, told the press on Tuesday that TikTok is primarily an entertainment platform. Hence, all tools and measures have been put in place to protect TikTok users from a toxic atmosphere, hate speech and biases sparked by political conflicts.

She added that the company has set up procedures to prevent political parties from using the platform to spread fake news, build support or profit from advertising.

“TikTok does not accept paid political ads or paid branded content. Politicians will be barred from engaging in any form of monetisation, while accounts taking any political angle will be added to the government, politician and political party account [GPPPA] category,” she noted.

TikTok accounts that fall under the GPPPA category are subject to a number of policies aimed at preventing misuse.

However, she said, if the content is created by a political party’s fan club, TikTok will not ban it because the platform respects freedom of speech.

TikTok, meanwhile, is collaborating with experts to exchange ideas on developing and updating platform policies for Thailand’s upcoming general election.

The platform wants to ensure users are provided with accurate information on key topics related to the election.

This includes holding training sessions to educate political parties and their stakeholders about TikTok’s integrity.

TikTok is also collaborating with fact-checking organisations to help users find accurate information.

The platform also plans to launch an “election centre” one month before political campaigns kick off. The centre will help users obtain reliable information about voting processes, candidates and other relevant topics.

Chanida said these measures have been added to TikTok’s community guidelines.

“After the elections in Malaysia and the Philippines, we learned that the public was not aware of these tools and measures. So, we hope to raise more public awareness ahead of the Thai elections. We are constantly looking into how we can improve our practices and processes to maintain the platform’s safety and integrity,” Chanida said.

Jirapat Lee, TikTok Thailand’s product policy chief, said these tools and measures are not new to the platform.

He said TikTok keeps an eye out for content and behaviour that violate its community guidelines by using a combination of artificial intelligence, policy and content moderators.

Content moderators across the world work round the clock to maintain a safe environment, including a reporting option that allows users to flag up harmful content, he said.

“At TikTok, we value our users’ trust and work hard to maintain that trust by removing content that violates the community guidelines,” he said.

Chanida promised that TikTok will promote digital literacy through educational videos that encourage users to think critically about the content they see online, as well as information about voting.

TikTok is a short-form video hosting service owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. It hosts user-submitted videos ranging in length from 3 seconds to 10 minutes.

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