TikTok users can now credit specific videos to ensure viral creators get their due

TikTok offers users a new way to credit videos that start viral trends.

When uploading content, users will be able to tag not only individual creators in video descriptions, but also specific videos – an addition that the platform says will “better enable creator credit and fair attribution for our community of creators and content creators”.

The change is, in part, a response to user complaints that the platform thrives on a parasitic approach to viral content. Last summer, for example, several black dance creators 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.

How to credit a viral video – a step by step guide from TikTok.
Image: TikTok

It’s an exploitation model that existed in digital spaces long before TikTok rose to prominence. write in Wired in 2016, for example, Latoya Peterson noted how video progenitor Vine also unknown black designers which has given the platform some of its most enduring and original productions. On TikTok, however, the attribution problem is arguably intensified by the app’s ability to spread viral trends via audio files and shared hashtags.

Keeping creators happy is a big part of maintaining a platform’s longevity, which TikTok Creator Community Manager Kudzi Chikumbu alluded to in a post announcing the change.

“These features are an important step in our ongoing commitment to invest in resources and product experiences that support a culture of credit, which is critical to ensuring TikTok remains a hotbed of creative expression,” Chikumbu wrote. “Whether it’s participating in the latest trend, adding a punchline to a joke, or creating the next viral sound, creators can easily and directly quote their inspiration.”

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