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TikTok Launches STEM Education Feed in Europe

ByHuey Yee Ong

Apr 2, 2024
TikTok Launches STEM Education Feed in Europe

Amidst mounting pressure from regulators in the United States and the United Kingdom, TikTok has announced a significant expansion of its educational offerings through the launch of a dedicated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) feed.

This initiative, first introduced in the United States last year, aims to support educational content on the platform. With the expansion set to begin in the UK and Ireland, TikTok’s STEM feed is designed to inspire young people, encouraging them to explore careers in STEM fields and engage with educational materials provided by experts in these areas.

Launching STEM Education in Europe

Scheduled to appear automatically for users under the age of 18 alongside existing “For You” and “Following” feeds, the STEM feed can also be enabled by users over 18 through the app’s “content preferences” settings.

Featuring English-speaking content equipped with auto-translate subtitles, this initiative is part of TikTok’s broader strategy to position itself as an educational hub for its predominantly young user base.

Since the STEM feed’s introduction in the US, TikTok reports that 33% of its users have enabled the feature, with a third of teen users visiting the STEM feed weekly.

This engagement has coincided with a 24% growth in STEM-related content on the platform in the US, contributing to nearly 15 million STEM videos published globally on TikTok over the past three years.

How TikTok Maintains High Standards

To ensure the quality and appropriateness of the content featured in the STEM feed, TikTok has expanded its partnerships with Common Sense Networks and the Poynter Institute.

These organizations are tasked with evaluating the content for suitability for younger audiences and the reliability of the information presented. Content that fails to meet the criteria set by these assessments will not be featured in the STEM feed.

Addressing Regulatory Concerns

The launch of the STEM feed comes at a time when TikTok faces scrutiny over the content it hosts, with concerns raised about harmful content and addictive design practices aimed at keeping users engaged.

The platform’s expansion into educational content also coincides with investigations by the European Union into whether TikTok has violated the Digital Services Act by not doing enough to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate content and for potentially encouraging addictive behavior.

In defense of the platform, TikTok CEO Shou Chew highlighted the STEM feed during two separate US congressional hearings, in March 2023 and January 2024, as evidence of TikTok’s commitment to providing valuable and educational content to its users.

By emphasizing the educational potential of TikTok through initiatives like the STEM feed, the company seeks to counteract criticism and showcase its role in fostering a positive and educational environment for its young audience.

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TikTok Logo: Used from Wikipedia

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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