TikTok launches local Internet safety initiative in India

TikTok has also launched an in-app safety quiz in English and Hindi, to help users understand safety better and equip them with online safety tips.

By Devika Singh  
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

ISocial networking app TikTok on Tuesday launched a local safety initiative, #SafeHumSafeInternet, an India specific campaign as part of TikTok's global initiative to spread awareness about Internet safety in India. The company also tied up with Cyber Peace Foundation to launch educational posters on online safety, to be distributed in schools and colleges nationwide.

As part of this initiative, TikTok users in India can participate in the #SafeHumSafeInternet online challenge by applying on their platform the customised stickers designed to encourage the adoption of positive online habits. TikTok has also launched an in-app safety quiz in English and Hindi, to help users understand safety better and equip them with online safety tips.

The recent steps by TikTok come in the wake of draft social media rules proposed by the government, which specify that 'intermediary' social media companies in India with more than 5 million users in the country need to set up a local office and have a senior executive in the country. The policy also asks these apps to moderate the content on their platforms by deploying automated tools for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content.

TikTok, during an event in New Delhi, which marked the launch of the initiative, revealed that it has moderations teams in the national capital and Mumbai to scrutinise the content being uploaded on the platform. According to the company, in India, the moderation team covers major Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati and more. Besides India, the company has moderation team in 19 other countries, which now covers 36 languages, which the company claims is an increase of 400 per cent in terms of language support from a year ago. The company did not disclose the size of its moderation team in India, but said it is on a lookout for grievance officer in the country.

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TikTok is owned by Chinese technology company Bytedance, which owns several similar apps in the country--Helo, Vigo Video. All the apps have seen huge traction in India lately. According to data from New York-based analytics company SimilarWeb, TikTok's Android version had 17.11 million daily active users (DAUs) in India in November 2018. Helo, which was exclusively launched in India in June, claims to have 25 million monthly active users in the country. Its short video-sharing app Vigo Video is also popular here and its Android app clocked 6.42 million DAUs in India in November, according to SimilarWeb.

Besides them, other Chinese apps Kwai and Bigo Live have also gained popularity in the country. However, most of these apps have been criticised for allowing pornographic content on their platforms to drive growth. As the government looks at tightening screw on these apps, it seems they are finally taking steps to monitor the content on their platforms.

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