Dutch far-right leader Baudet punished by TikTok for violating political ad rules
Social media platform TikTok formally blocked Dutch far-right politician Thierry Baudet from advertising videos on the site after he or someone affiliated with him went around the company's terms and conditions by paying to have his videos shown to a wider audience. The company punished him for that, and also prevented him from creating live videos from his account, according to BNR. Baudet is the leader of political party Forum voor Democratie (FvD).
After BNR contacted TikTok about advertising from Baudet's account, a spokesperson said, "Ads should never have been placed from this account. The advertisements themselves were also not allowed." Baudet also acknowledged on Monday that he was taken to task for violating TikTok's community guidelines.
The radio station pointed out that advertisers can potentially reach over three million people eligible to vote in Wednesday's Provincial Council elections. The election directly determines the composition of the governments in the 12 provinces, whose membership then acts as an electoral college to vote for the 75 people who will serve as senators at the national level.
It costs a few thousand euros to reach over a million voters. Most Dutch TikTok users are in younger age groups, including about 850,000 who are between 20 and 24 years of age, BNR said.
Twice this week, Baudet, FvD, or an affiliate paid money to promote videos on the social media platform. The videos were viewed over two million times, and feature Baudet creating a song with a rapper. In a separate instance, Baudet is in a video with a blonde woman directly encourages people to vote FvD. That video was sponsored after it was posted by an account created earlier this month. It was viewed about 1.2 million times, according to TikTok.
The account is also linked to an Instagram account which has only posted twice, including a first post in January.
Accounts which are identified as being from politicians and political parties are forbidden from advertising on TikTok. However, if a user does not verify their account, it may be more difficult for TikTok to enforce the ban. BNR previously reported on the ease in which people can advertise TikTok to encourage politically-motivated violence, and to spread disinformation. The company, owned by Chinese parent ByteDance, said it would invest more in improving its content moderation.
FvD was projected to do poorly in Wednesday's election. The party won 12 out of 75 Eerste Kamer seats as a result of the 2019 election, but internal strife led to the near-collapse of the party. They had only one seat left by Election Day after high profile defections led to the formation of several rival parties.
Baudet's FvD was expected to win no more than two seats in the 2023 vote.