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TikTok urges Kenyan MPs to prioritise safety, visit global trust centre

TikTok has announced its ongoing collaboration with Kenyan policymakers, regulatory agencies, and stakeholders to enhance platform safety and stimulate the country’s creative economy.

During a demonstration session held on Tuesday, April 10, to address concerns regarding TikTok in Kenya, Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, TikTok’s Head of Public Policy and Government Relations for Sub-Saharan Africa, announced that the platform would persist in conducting capacity-building workshops for policymakers and regulatory agencies.

These workshops will prioritise online safety, data privacy, and content moderation.

“We value the opportunity to contribute to keeping our Kenyan community safe on our platform and look forward to collaborating more closely with all our stakeholders in Kenya including government, the media, civil society, parents, teachers, guardians and our wider community itself,” said Mgwili-Sibanda.

As part of the platform’s commitment to upholding safety, TikTok has encouraged legislators and other government officials to visit its Transparency and Accountability Centre in Dublin.

“Through this tour, legislators will have the opportunity to see how TikTok’s teams work to secure the community’s safety,” he said.

The digital creative industry, Mgwili-Sibanda told legislators has emerged as one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Kenyan economy, serving not only as a source of employment but also as a catalyst for national cohesion.

“A ban on TikTok would hinder the progress of such causes, as we believe TikTok plays a key role in surfacing local Kenyan talent and exporting it to global audiences,” he cautioned.

Already, the platform has seen the emergence of local talents that are attracting local and international attention that has generated millions of viewers on their accounts.

@theroamingchef (Dennis Ombachi), winner of our inaugural Top Creator Award for 2022, is a sports professional who has warmed the hearts of many global audiences with his cooking skills and signature phrase “done”.

Amos Ngahu, an established local MC who learnt his emceeing skills through TikTok; and whose TikTok account @moneygossip teaches financial literacy to emerging youth business owners and entrepreneurs.

@elsa.majimbo – a creator who gained recognition during the COVID-19 quarantine days by making home-based comedy skits.

Elsa is now a global phenomenon based in the United States and continues to share heartwarming anecdotes of her ever so colourful life with her global audience.

According to the National Council for Population and Development, Kenya is a youthful nation with over 80% of the population aged 35 years and below.

“We understand that many of these young people may be struggling to find employment, and TikTok would like to partner with the Kenyan government to empower them to leverage technology for sustainable livelihoods,” said Mgwili-Sibanda.

In February 2023, the Ministry of Youth Affairs launched the Talanta Hela project, a flagship plan to support talents in the sports and creative industries- in line with the government’s bottom-up economic transformation agenda that aims to discover, nurture and monetise Kenyan talent.

A report released in June 2023 showed that Kenya had 54% of TikTok usage for any purpose and 29% for news.