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TikTok is bringing its dedicated STEM feed to Europe

As TikTok continues to face growing pressure in the U.S. and U.K., the company is demonstrating its commitment to cultivating educational content on its app. The company announced on Tuesday that it will expand its dedicated STEM services across Europe, starting with the UK and Ireland, following its debut in the US last year.

For users under 18, STEM sources will begin to automatically appear alongside “Recommended for You” and “Following” sources. Users over the age of 18 can enable STEM sources through the application’s Content Preferences settings. The feed includes English content with automatically translated subtitles.

TikTok said that since launching the feed in the United States last year, 33% of its users have enabled the STEM feed, and one-third of teenagers access the STEM feed every week. Since the launch of the feed, the app has grown 24% in STEM-related content in the United States. Nearly 15 million STEM-related videos have been posted on the app globally over the past three years.

The company is expanding its partnership with Common Sense Networks and Poynter to evaluate all content appearing on STEM sources. Common Sense Networks will review the content to ensure it is appropriate for the STEM feed, and Poynter will evaluate the reliability of the information. Content that fails these two checkpoints will not be eligible for the STEM feed.

The launch of the STEM feed comes at a time when TikTok has been criticized for showing harmful content to children and teenagers, with rights groups claiming the app uses addictive design practices to keep users hooked for as long as possible.

In February this year, the EU said it was investigating whether TikTok violated Digital Services Act, which includes rules to ensure user safety online. The committee is investigating whether the app does enough to prevent minors from discovering inappropriate content and determining whether its design choices could stimulate addictive behavior.

With today’s announcement, TikTok seeks to further establish itself as an educational hub for its millions of young users on the app, countering criticism from lawmakers around the world. The company has used STEM feed to counter claims that it is harmful to young users, TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified at two separate U.S. Congressional hearings, one in March 2023 and one in January 2024. This feed is highly promoted.

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