Popular short-form video platform, TikTok, has announced that it will strike a partnership deal with the Kenyan government to ensure that its content aligns with the country’s regulations. TikTok will establish a local office to effectively oversee its operations within Africa.
TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, revealed these commitments during a virtual meeting with President William Ruto where he clearly emphasized the company’s intention to hire more Kenyan employees. Moses Kuria, the Trade Cabinet Secretary, as well as Adan Hussein, an economic adviser were also present in the meeting.
The main purpose of this collaboration is to eliminate offensive and inappropriate content from the platform. Although specific methods were not disclosed, it is presumed that content moderators will handle the task.
The decision to collaborate follows a recent petition to ban TikTok in Kenya, alleging that the platform has contributed to moral degradation and cultural erosion in the country. However, the Parliament expressed its inability to combat technology and innovation represented by platforms like TikTok and other social media networks.
Enforcing a ban might prove ineffective, as Kenyans can bypass restrictions using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). VPNs have been instrumental in circumventing bans in various African countries. For instance, during Nigeria’s Twitter ban, VPNs enabled citizens to access the platform despite government warnings. Similarly, in Senegal, VPNs were used to reach social media sites after access was limited due to political tensions.
Unlike Somalia, which chose to totally prohibit platforms like TikTok, Kenya has opted for dialogue and cooperation. Social media platforms have emerged as significant employers, especially for the youth, contributing to the rise of the creator economy. Livestreaming various activities, from gaming to cooking, enables creators to generate revenue through views. Social media’s positive impact on employment and its role in shaping the creator economy make it a valuable asset in the present and future.