TikTok is bringing its dedicated STEM feed to Europe

As TikTok continues to face increased pressure in the U.S. and the U.K., the company is signaling its commitment to fostering educational content on its app. The company announced on Tuesday that it's expanding its dedicated STEM feed across Europe, starting in the U.K. and Ireland, after first launching it in the U.S. last year.

The STEM feed will begin to automatically appear alongside the "For You" and "Following" feeds for users under the age of 18. Users above the age of 18 can enable the STEM feed via the app's "content preferences" settings. The feed includes English-speaking content with auto-translate subtitles.

TikTok says that since launching the feed in the U.S. last year, 33% of users have the STEM feed enabled and a third of teens go to the STEM feed every week. The app has seen a 24% growth in STEM-related content in the U.S. since the feed launched. Over the past three years, almost 15 million STEM-related videos have been published on the app globally.

The company is expanding its partnerships with Common Sense Networks and Poynter to assess all of the content appearing on the STEM feed. Common Sense Networks will examine the content to ensure it's appropriate for the STEM feed, while Poynter will assess the reliability of the information. Content that doesn't pass both of these checkpoints will not be eligible for the STEM feed.

The launch of the STEM feed comes as TikTok has been criticized for showing harmful content to kids and teens, with rights groups alleging that the app uses addictive design practices to keep users engaged for as long as possible.

In February, the European Union said it was investigating whether TikTok has breached the Digital Services Act, which includes rules for keeping users safe online. The commission is investigating whether the app is doing enough to stop minors from finding inappropriate content and determining whether its design choices stimulate addictive behavior.

With today's announcement, TikTok is seeking to further present itself as an educational hub for the millions of young users on its app as a way to counter criticisms from lawmakers around the world. The company has already used the STEM feed to counter claims that it's harmful for young users, as TikTok CEO Shou Chew touted the feed while testifying in two separate U.S. congressional hearings, one in March 2023 and one in January 2024.