TikTok provides users a new way to credit videos that trigger viral trends.
When uploading content, users will be able to tag not only individual creators in video descriptions, but also specific videos — an addition the platform says will “enable better credit for creators and fair attribution for our creator community and content creators.”
The change is in part in response to user complaints that the platform thrives on a parasitic approach to viral content. For example, last summer a number of Black dance makers went on strike of the app, noting how many viral dances (like the Renegade and the Savage, etc.) were created by black users before spreading to the rest of the community without credit or attribution.
It’s a pattern of exploitation that existed in digital spaces long before TikTok became known. Signing up wired for example, in 2016, Latoya Peterson noted how short-for video precursor Vine too black makers overlooked which gave the platform some of its most enduring and original output. On TikTok, however, the attribution problem is arguably compounded by the app’s ability to spread viral trends through shared audio and hashtags.
Keeping creators happy is a big part of preserving the longevity of a platform, which TikTok creator community director Kudzi Chikumbu alluded to in a post announcing the change.
“These features are an important step in our continued commitment to investing in resources and product experiences that support a culture of credit, which is essential to ensuring TikTok remains a home for creative expression,” Chikumbu wrote. “Whether you’re joining the latest trend, adding a joke to a joke, or creating the next viral sound, creators can easily and instantly cite their inspiration.”