TikTok casts its educational STEM feed to Europe

TikTok casts its educational STEM feed to Europe
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TikTok’s critics often highlight the difference in the way the virulent app behaves and operates in the Far East and in the west. Namely, there are grave concerns with the “western” TikTok’s algorithm and the content it feeds to kids and young users.

Now, TechCrunch reports that TikTok is bringing its dedicated STEM feed to Europe – meaning that the popular short video app will be more educational (in theory).

The ByteDance-owned company announced the expansion of its specialized STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) feed to Europe, beginning with the UK and Ireland. This initiative first took off in the US last year.

For users under 18, the STEM feed will be displayed automatically along with the “For You” and “Following” feeds. Those users that are past the age of 18 can activate the STEM feed through the app’s “content preferences” feature, which offers English-language content with auto-translate subtitles.

Since its US debut, 33% of TikTok users have activated the STEM feed, with a third of teenagers accessing it weekly. The US has witnessed a 24% increase in STEM content since the feed’s introduction. Globally, TikTok hosts nearly 15 million STEM-focused videos, posted over the last three years.

This development follows criticism of TikTok for exposing young users to potentially harmful content and accusations of using design tactics that promote virtual addiction. The European Union, in February, began an inquiry to determine if TikTok violates the Digital Services Act by allowing minors access to unsuitable content and encouraging addictive behaviors.

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