TikTok bars influencers from promoting cryptocurrencies on its platform

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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TikTok, a Chinese ByteDance-owned video-sharing app, has updated its branded content policy to prevent all financial services and goods from being promoted, including influencers advocating cryptocurrencies, stock trading, and buy-now-pay-later schemes. 

According to the company, the update is intended to combat the growing use of the wildly popular social media platform to commit frauds, scams, and dishonest behavior that may infringe on people’s privacy.

However, it comes only weeks after Beijing imposed a ban on bitcoin mining activities due to “environment concerns,” prompting miners to close up shop and leave mainland China. The new TikTok guidelines will have an impact on legal financial firms, as they will no longer be able to use influencers to promote their products.

However, the company’s advertising policy remains unaltered, allowing financial services companies to advertise to consumers above the age of 18.

The updated policy, titled “Globally Prohibited Industries”, states that all branded content promoting financial services and products are prohibited, including but not limited to loans and credit cards, buy now pay later (BNPL) services, trading platforms, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange, forex trading, and so forth.

The policy is no longer available from India after the government banned TikTok in 2020 and several other apps from Chinese companies, which the government confirmed earlier in January to be a permanent ban.

Many crypto-trading companies hire TikTok influencers, sometimes known as “Fintok” consultants to expand their reach. As a result, some of them may provide false and uncontrolled financial advice regarding investing in assets such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin to young and naive investors who want to increase their money quickly but lack a thorough grasp of the market.

The crackdown on cryptocurrency began in late May, with key mining centers like Sichuan, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang being targeted first, resulting in a significant drop in the bitcoin market. Before the crackdown, China was responsible for around 70 percent of worldwide Bitcoin manufacturing.

Related: TikTok to automatically remove content that violates its policy