Short-form video platform TikTok has responded to mounting concerns by pledging to intensify content review and moderation, just days after a petition advocating for its ban was presented in Kenya’s parliament. The move comes after TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew engaged in discussions with President William Ruto, vowing to uphold community standards and remove inappropriate or offensive content from the platform.
CEO’s Pledge to President Ruto
In a meeting with President Ruto, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew expressed the company’s commitment to stricter content moderation. The initiative aims to align the content on the platform with established community guidelines, ensuring that TikTok remains a safe and appropriate space for users.
President Ruto applauded this decision, highlighting how it will help maintain the integrity of the platform’s content and its alignment with agreed-upon standards. Chew also announced plans to establish a Kenyan office to oversee the company’s operations on the continent, with a promise to hire more local talent.
TikTok’s Rising Influence in Kenya
TikTok’s growing influence in Kenya has not gone unnoticed. A recent study by Reuters Institute revealed that TikTok’s user base has expanded significantly over the past year, particularly among younger demographics. Kenya ranks among the top six countries worldwide for TikTok use, taking the lead in Africa. The study indicates that 29 percent of Kenyan TikTok users rely on the platform for news, while 54 percent use it for various purposes.
The rise in TikTok’s popularity has prompted concerns about the nature of content being shared on the platform, leading to a petition seeking a ban on TikTok in Kenya. The petition, spearheaded by Bob Ndolo and backed by Moses Wetangula, Speaker of the National Assembly, highlights explicit content, privacy issues, hate speech, and cultural sensitivity as grounds for the proposed ban.
Kenyan Engagement on TikTok
Kenya’s engagement with TikTok has been strong, making it vital for the platform to address these concerns swiftly and proactively. With this commitment to stricter content review and establishment of local operations, TikTok seeks to foster a safer and more culturally sensitive environment for its growing Kenyan user base.
As TikTok navigates these challenges and implements changes, the global attention on its engagement with Kenya highlights the significance of responsible content management in the ever-evolving landscape of social media.