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TikTok steps up digital safety campaign in Kenya

Social media App, TikTok says it has stepped up campaigns in Kenya towards ensuring digital safety and education, among the country’s youth.

In collaboration with Eveminet, the app launched workshops dubbed ‘Safer Together’ around the country in October last year aimed at fostering a safe environment on the app for the country’s youth.

So far, the ‘Safer Together’ campaign has successfully engaged 116,355 participants, including learners, parents, and educators across 21 of Kenya’s 47 counties.

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The workshops, which offer in-person and virtual learning experiences, offer a unique blend of hybrid sessions educating as well as equipping the youth with valuable digital safety knowledge within their communities.

“Our commitment to safety in Kenya extends beyond current achievements. From April to September 2024, we aim to cover the remaining 26 counties, ensuring nationwide access to essential digital safety education. We have done extensive work and will continue to do more to ensure that our community enjoys a safe app experience,” Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, TikTok’s Director of Government and Public Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa said in a statement.

TikTok has prioritised the youth, especially teenagers who form the highest percentage of its users, saying the campaign has led to the formation of a Youth Council.

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The Council, which comprises of 15 teenagers between the age of 15 and 18 from different countries, includes two from Kenya, and aims to ensure that young voices are integral to TikTok’s decision-making processes.

The 15 members of the Council are from the US, the UK, Brazil, Indonesia, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Morocco.

However, TikTok said it cannot share the identities of the selected Global Youth Council representatives for safety purposes.

The Youth Council, which first met in December 2023, recently completed its second meeting, with TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew in attendance.

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During the meeting, the Council set out its priorities for 2024, which include a focus on teen wellbeing and inclusion to help ensure TikTok continues to be a safe and accessible space for young people to show up as who they are.

Last year, TikTok came under immense pressure from public and the political class to have it banned in Kenya for what many termed as promoting moral decay in the society especially among Gen Z.

A petition was launched by lobby groups to have the Chinese App banned, prompting Mr Chew to hold a meeting with President William Ruto to discuss how some of the unwarranted content could be properly moderated and to generally make the App a safer social media platform.

Besides promising to improve on its content moderation, TikTok also committed to establish a physical office in Nairobi to fast-track some of its decision-making processes.