The video-sharing app has come under fire by US lawmakers and the Trump administration over national security concerns due to its Chinese ownership.

TikTok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken November 27, 2019.
TikTok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken November 27, 2019. (Reuters)

Video-sharing app TikTok has updated its content policies to curb misinformation on its platform ahead of the presidential election in the United States.

"We're updating our policies on misleading content to provide better clarity on what is and isn't allowed on TikTok," the company said on Wednesday.

The app, which has come under fire by US lawmakers and the Trump administration over national security concerns due to its Chinese ownership, said on Wednesday it was working with experts from the US Department of Homeland Security to "protect against foreign influence".

TikTok said it would expand partnerships with PolitiFact and Lead Stories to fact-check potential misinformation about the election. It will also allow users to report vote-related misinformation on the app, the company said in a blog post.

The company, which does not allow political advertising and said in the blog post it was not the "go-to app to follow news or politics," has increasingly emerged as a platform for political discourse and activism. 

Users recently said they helped inflate attendance expectations at US President Donald Trump's June rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

READ MORE: What are the implications of a US-TikTok standoff?

Combating misinformation

The hugely popular app, which allows users to create short videos with special effects and music clips, has also been used to share false claims such as Covid-19 misinformation.

TikTok said it was adding a specific policy to prohibit synthetic or manipulated content that misleads users in a way that could cause harm. In recent days, a viral doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had spread across social media platforms, including TikTok.

The changes are the latest moves by TikTok to combat misinformation, an issue that major social media companies including Facebook and Twitter have long struggled to police on their own platforms.

US-China tensions

TikTok owner ByteDance is the first Chinese company to achieve global success with a consumer app.

However, amid rising US-China tensions, the White House has threatened to ban TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps, citing national security risks.

TikTok currently faces a deadline of September 15 to either sell its US operations to Microsoft Corp or face an outright ban. 

READ MORE: Trump green lights Microsoft buy of Chinese-owned video app TikTok

Trump calls for slice of TikTok deal draws fire

President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his demand for the US government to get a piece of the action to let Microsoft or any other company here buy popular China-based social media app TikTok.

Trump's stance was slammed by critics who said it appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.

"We have all the cards, because without us, you can't come into the United States," Trump said during a White House press briefing.

"If you're a landlord, you have a tenant, the tenant's business needs rent, it needs a lease."

Trump maintained that a large share of any TikTok purchase price should go to the US treasury, and that Microsoft "agreed with me very much."

Microsoft did not immediately return a request for comment.

READ MORE: TikTok 'not planning on going anywhere' as Trump ban looms

Source: TRTWorld and agencies