A culture of credit is something that TikTok hopes to achieve with their new crediting app that was released in May of 2022. Before we get into the details of the new tool, let’s refresh ourselves on why crediting is important — and why it’s not okay to use being inspired by someone’s work as permission to copy someone’s original content without giving recognition.
Why it’s important to credit original creators — especially BIPOC creators.
Crediting the original creditors amplifies the voices of Black creators and the voice of other underrepresented groups. It allows the original creditors to gain opportunities to rise above the app with brand deals and business promotions, so they uplift themselves and the communities around them.
Crediting not only brings attention, recognition, and business opportunities to them, but it also prevents the erasure of culture., and in most cases Black culture. Thomas Ford wrote in Dance Spirit magazine that “When you don’t credit a choreographer on TikTok, especially one of color, you not only rob them of the opportunity to capitalize on the attention their dance is getting, but you also, whether inadvertently or not, whitewash the history and context of the choreography.”
It seems that TikTok understands this importance and has worked hard to even the virtual playing field by adding more features to the app.
With the crediting tool, users can directly tag, mention and credit a video or sound with a click of a button. When users upload a video, they will see three options below the space to write a caption. Users will see the option for a hashtag, mention, and the newest button, video. For those that are using this feature for the first time, there will be a message that appears reading “give credit to a video”.
In addition, there will be a message that explains the importance of the feature, and what will happen next. After the detailed message users will be shown a page of videos where they can choose the video that provided the source of inspiration. Once selected the creator of the original video will be tagged as a mentioned in the description of the new video.
In addition to this feature, TikTok sought to do more for its community by implementing new segments across the app. To better understand these changes BGN connected with TikTok via email to better understand their intention and goals for the app.
How will TikTok continue to uphold and sustain this culture of credit?
To help keep the Culture of Credit top of mind for our community, we’re adding reminders in the form of pop-ups to help guide creators toward crediting source material.
Beyond our new tools, the idea of attribution will remain at the forefront of the TikTok creator experience. We’re constantly evolving and investing in resources that lead to improved product experiences dedicated to supporting a culture of credit and equitable attribution for our diverse creator community.
Over the past year, our teams have done a lot of listening and learning with creators on our platform, introducing programming like launching “Originators” through our Discover List last October, which are the creators who started popular trends on the app and debuted our TikTok Originators monthly social series highlighting Originators on the platform. We’re eager to continue fostering a culture of credit on TikTok, where these voices are amplified and properly credited for their content and creative works.
Although change will take time TikTok seems to be making large efforts to amplify voices from all different backgrounds. Here are some of the ways they are doing so and some of the partnerships they’ve made along the way.
- Creator Spotlight Series: As part of our Creator Spotlight Series, we feature and highlight BIPOC creators from all across the platform, including originators of the most popular trends.
- Trailblazers Lists: As part of our ongoing efforts to amplify diverse voices on the platform, we shine a light on Originators, trendsetters, and creators as part of our cultural celebrations, including Black History Month, Arab American Heritage Month, and API Heritage Month.
- Originators Series: Originators are the creators who start the trends we know and love. Our goal is to highlight the creativity and support these trendsetters who inspire other creators. We first introduced Originators to the world through The Discover List on Oct. 19, 2021, and as we continue to build a Culture of Credit on TikTok, we officially launched TikTok Originators, a monthly social series highlighting Originators on the platform. On Feb. 18, 2022, @arri.arii was the first Originator to be highlighted in the social series.
- Creator Diversity Collective: In 2020, we introduced our Creator Diversity Collective, which brings people from different backgrounds together to help ensure diversity, inclusion, and representation in our programs and on our platform. These creators were chosen due to both their knowledge of TikTok and their dedication to advocating for a more inclusive platform. The Collective meets regularly with TikTok employees to share the perspectives of the creator community.
- MACRO partnership: In 2021 we partnered with MACRO on two programs: the TikTok for Black Creatives (including the MACRO x TikTok Black Creatives Grant) incubator program, which was announced in January, and the TikTok Latinx Creatives incubator program, which was announced in August.
- #SupportBlack is an initiative we announced to uplift Black small-business owners to rebuild businesses impacted by the pandemic. #SupportBlack is an online hub where Black entrepreneurs can learn about TikTok’s ongoing partnerships, and initiatives that drive awareness, support and patronage of their businesses.
- We also launched @BlackTikTok to spotlight and celebrate the creativity and diversity of the Black creator community on TikTok. Through this account, we’ve highlighted important moments such as Khaby Lame’s 100M follower milestone, recognized originators of trends, and given creators a microphone during events like Juneteenth and more.
- The MACRO x TikTok Black Creatives Grant was a continuation of TikTok for Black Creatives, where TikTok and MACRO identified 101 creators and artists across an array of content categories — including Arts, Entertainment, Music, Education, Food, Beauty, and more — and provided them with career-building resources to help them succeed on TikTok (and beyond).
- Over the last couple of years, we’ve also made donations to organizations that support Black youth, Black creators, and Black-owned businesses:
- Last summer, through our #SupportBlack initiative, we made a $500,000 donation to the Accion Opportunity Fund to provide relief to businesses impacted by COVID-19.
- We provided financial support to non-profit organizations that fight for racial equality and justice and provide programs and resources to local Black communities, including BET + United Way COVID-19 Relief Fund, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Center for Policing Equity, Black Girls CODE, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Chicago-based My Block My Hood My City, and The Brotherhood Crusade.
- We also made contributions to Black museums across the country that are working to preserve Black stories and history, as well as academic institutions that serve underrepresented students with programs focused on public health and professions in the medical and healthcare fields, including historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
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Kiersten is a freelance writer and coach. As a writer, she has written for Travel Noire, Passion Passport, BAUCE mag, and various travel and lifestyle blogs. As a writer, her goal is to write content that inspires others to take action. As a coach, her goal is to empower women to be their most authentic selves. In her free time, you can find her dancing to any song any where.