TikTok adds a third feed just for science and math videos

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TikTok is adding a new feed dedicated exclusively to science, engineering, engineering, and math content – with additional moderation before videos appear in the feed.

The STEM feed will be in addition to the two existing feeds, Follow and For You, and will feature content for users specifically looking for trending science and technology videos. US users will start seeing the feed in the coming weeks.

Not all science and technology content ends up on the STEM feed. TikTok says that in order to be eligible for the feed, videos must pass additional layers of scrutiny by partner organizations focused on trust and safety efforts.

TikTok partner organizations review videos before adding them to the STEM feed, the company says.
Image: TikTok

Common Sense Networks checks the content to make sure it’s appropriate for the feed, and Poynter “will assess the reliability of the information presented,” according to TikTok. The company previously partnered with Common Sense Networks to screen content for age appropriateness.

The addition of a topic-specific curated feed gives a TikTok community a more visible and permanent placement — users who aren’t usually tapped into STEM content can swipe and dive in.

While TikTok says the feed will be a place to access reliable, entertaining content, science and health have long been topics of disinformation, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. TikTok bans false or misleading content about covid and vaccines under its medical disinformation policy. The company did not immediately respond to questions about whether covid or vaccine videos would be part of the STEM feed or how videos would initially be selected — and judged — for inclusion.

In February, TikTok appeared to conduct a limited test of similar topic-based feeds, including categories like fashion, sports, and gaming. The company says it is currently testing topic feeds in select markets.

The update comes as TikTok is under increased scrutiny from lawmakers over user safety and whether the app poses national security risks. Earlier this month, lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill that would allow the app to be banned, and CEO Shou Zi Chew is expected to testify before Congress on March 23.

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