TikTok partners African Union to embark on digital safety campaign

TikTok, a short-form mobile video-sharing company, and the African Union Commission’s Women, Gender, and Youth Directorate (WGYD) have partnered to raise awareness of online safety among African youth and parents.

TikTok has become so popular in Africa that in June 2023, Kenya ranked first amongst the world’s top TikTok users, with South Africa ranking third, according to a Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

As TikTok continues to get entwined with various issues in Africa and beyond, this development will foster a digitally safe environment and safeguard the digital futures of Africans.

In August 2023, a petition to ban TikTok was submitted to the National Assembly Speaker in Kenya, citing inappropriate and violent content, foul language, explicit sexual content, and hate speech as endangering the nation’s cultural and religious values.

Although TikTok avoided a national ban in Kenya, the country forced it to take more drastic measures to remove offensive content from its platform. In the same month, Somalia banned the social media platform, citing concerns about terrorist content.

Senegal followed shortly after, banning the video-sharing social media app for being the main medium for spreading hateful messages that threatened the nation’s stability.

During this period, Egypt and Uganda seriously considered banning the platform as well.

According to the Director of the African Union’s Women, Gender, and Youth Directorate, Prudence Nonkululeko Ngwenya, this development is consistent with the Union’s ongoing efforts to promote and advocate for safe online experiences and mental health for young people in Africa, through the 1 Million Next Level Initiative.

The US House of Representatives passed legislation on March 13 requiring TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, to sell the video-sharing app or face a ban in the country.

(Techpoint Africa)

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