New resources help young people spot advertising on TikTok

Produced in collaboration with Media Smart, the initiative uses successful TikTok creators to help teenagers safely navigate the social media platform

Today (5 October) sees the launch of a set of resources designed to help young people differentiate between advertising and organic content on TikTok.

Produced in collaboration between the social media platform and sector non-profit, Media Smart, the initiative aims to help teenagers understand how advertising works on the platform, as well as the best ways to keep safe.

“This exciting, film-based educational resource, featuring successful TikTok creators, will empower 13–17-year-olds with the tools they need to navigate TikTok’s commercial side, ensuring they have the most positive online experience possible,” explain the team behind the scheme.

“Brands can advertise their products in all kinds of new and exciting ways on TikTok, so it is vital that young people have a strong understanding of the branded messaging they’re consuming daily.”


From the archive: Earlier this year, we reported on how TikTok was facing a lawsuit on behalf of millions of children over data privacy concerns


Besides the target age group, there are resources for teachers, parents and carers to use in helping young people better spot when they are consuming marketing messages.

“From household names all the way through to small businesses, brands are a key part of TikTok, producing some of the best creativity the platform has to offer, and it’s important that the younger generation can clearly differentiate between advertising and organic content,” said Stuart Flint, head of Global Business Solutions, Europe at TikTok.

The content was produced in response to Media Smart-commissioned research by Livity, specialists in youth culture, with sessions tailored to focus on:

  • Defining TikTok’s different advertising formats and understanding what they look like on the platform
  • Understanding the principles by which brands and creators should behave on TikTok
  • Knowing the available actions to take when managing experiences on TikTok to stay safe  

“We have worked with some incredible TikTok Creators to ensure the subject is brought to life in the most authentic way possible through TikTok-style films,” said Rachel Barber-Mack, director of Media Smart UK.

“These will be played in classrooms across the country, as well as on the platform, reaching and educating millions of young people in the process.”

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