Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok has updated its branded content policy to ban all financial services and products, including influencers from promoting cryptocurrency, share trading, and buy-now-pay-later schemes. The move, the company says, is aimed at stopping the increasing misuse of the wildly popular social media platform to commit frauds, scams, and dishonest behaviour that may infringe upon someone’s privacy. But it has come just weeks after Beijing cracked down on cryptocurrency mining operations over “climate concerns”, forcing miners to shut shop and move out of mainland China. TikTok’s new rules will hit legitimate financial firms, which will no longer be able to use influencers for promotion.
Without the ability to pay either influencers or TikTok for advertising, cryptocurrency’s time on the platform might be over. However, the company’s advertising policy, which allows financial services companies to advertise to people over the age of 18, remains unchanged.
TikTok’s updated policy about cryptocurrency
In the updated policy, TikTok said under the heading “Globally Prohibited Industries” 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 not accessible from India after the government banned the social media platform in 2020, along with several apps from Chinese companies, which the government confirmed in January this year was a permanent ban. However, reports have confirmed the new policy from TikTok.
Many crypto-trading companies use influencers on TikTok, known as “Fintok” advisors, to grow their reach. Sometimes this results in some of them giving misleading and unregulated financial advice about investing in assets like Bitcoin and Dogecoin to young and naive investors who, without a proper understanding of the market, want to grow their money quickly.
Similar stance by Google
Like TikTok, even Google took a tough stance on scam advertisements on its platform. A few weeks ago, Google UK had stated that from September the company will ask financial services providers to verify their identities to clamp down on scam advertisements hosted on its platform.
Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities have expanded their crackdown on cryptocurrencies with authorities recently banning trading in the highly volatile digital coins in the Anhui province to bring the power consumption down to a manageable level. The action effectively began in late May, beginning with major mining hubs like Sichuan, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang, which resulted in a massive slump in the crypto market. Before the crackdown, China accounted for roughly 70 per cent of global Bitcoin production.