TikTok, the popular Chinese owned video-sharing social network, has banned promotion of MLM across its entire platform.

The decision was made public following recent changes to TikTok’s “community guidelines”.

In TikTok’s updated guidelines, MLM comes under “frauds and scams” and is grouped together with Ponzi and pyramid schemes.

Frauds and scams

We do not permit anyone to exploit our platform to take advantage of the trust of users and bring about financial or personal harm.

We remove content that deceives people in order to gain an unlawful financial or personal advantage, including schemes to defraud individuals or steal assets.

Do not post, upload, stream, or share:

-Content that depicts or promotes phishing

-Content that depicts or promotes Ponzi, multi-level marketing, or pyramid schemes

-Content that depicts or promotes investment schemes with promise of high returns, fixed betting, or any other types of scams

It’s an interesting move for the video sharing platform to take. I don’t use TikTok so I’m not clear on widespread MLM promotion is across the platform.

What I do know is that if Facebook, Twitter and YouTube follow suit (or actively enforced existing policies), it would be a devastating blow to the industry.

On the plus side prolific serial scammers would lose their promotional channels, so there’s that.


Update 28th May 2021 – A report from Media Matters claims TikTok is “not actually enforcing” its MLM ban.

MLMs still appear to be thriving on TikTok despite the supposed ban, and the platform seems to be enabling them.

n one case, TikTok even verified at least five Avon accounts, despite Avon being one of the largest MLMs worldwide.

Avon is also seemingly sponsoring influencers to promote its products on TikTok in a coordinated advertising campaign.

Other popular MLMs on TikTok sell weight loss products and supplements.

Advertising from Shaklee, Plexus, It Works! and Herbalife was also observed.