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TikTok pushes crediting original creators with new tools

TikTok creators — who are often of marginalized groups — have pressured the company to properly credit originators of popular trends.
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A TikTok office in Culver City, Calif., in August 2020.Mario Tama / Getty Images file

TikTok is rolling out new tools to encourage users to give creators proper credit and attribution for their work.

When users post videos using trending dances, joke formats and editing styles, they will also be able to tag the creators who originated the trends, TikTok announced Wednesday.

"We're always exploring new ways to amplify the voices of our creator community and celebrate the innovative content creators share on TikTok," TikTok's director of creator community, Kudzi Chikumbu, wrote in a blog post.

"Inspiration can come from anywhere, and it's important that creators are equipped with the right tools that allow TikTok to continue being a place where creativity is celebrated and individually credited."

TikTok creators — who are often of marginalized groups — have pressured the company to properly credit originators of popular trends. Last year, some Black TikTok creators refused to choreograph routines to Megan Thee Stallion's "Thot S---" to protest non-Black creators’ going viral for re-creating their dances without attributing them. Many creators have also turned to publicly shaming brands that use their viral content without proper compensation.

Last year, TikTok released a guide to its new "Culture of Credit," which suggested crediting and "uplifting" the creators behind viral trends. The company also launched a monthly "TikTok Originators" series to highlight creators for their work.

TikTok users can access the new crediting tool on the video posting page. Once they're ready to post videos, they can tap the new "video" icon and scroll through all the videos they've liked, favorited or posted or from which they've used the same sound. Links to the videos they select will appear as tags in the users' posted video captions.

TikTok also said the platform will add prompts to credit creators "throughout the posting process," as well as an educational pop-up about the importance of proper attribution. The features will be available "over the next few weeks," TikTok said.

“It’s important to see a culture of credit take shape across the digital landscape and to support underrepresented creators in being properly credited and celebrated for their work.” Chikumbu said.

“We’re eager to see how these new creator crediting tools inspire more creativity and encourage trend attribution across the global TikTok community.”