TikTok
TikTok app has also made reporting simpler in an effort to encourage its users, many of them in their teens, to flag and report harmful content.

Social networking platform TikTok has unveile new product features to combat fake news and disinformation on its channel ahead of August 9th General Election.

TikTok said the new features are meant to support users access factual and authoritative information about the Kenya general election.

“We are engaging with diverse stakeholders in Kenya to discuss opportunities and challenges for dynamic solutions in a fast-paced digital world,” said TikTok’s head for Sub Saharan Africa government relations, Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda.

“Our resolve is to spread positivity in markets where we operate as we promote peaceful coexistence,” he said.

Some of the in-app features include a screen time management feature that is prompting users to take breaks.

The app has also made reporting simpler in a bid to encourage its users, many of them in their teens, to flag and report harmful content.

A report by the Mozilla Foundation released earlier this month found dozens of content that violate Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Act and TikTok’s own community guidelines were being spread to millions of users unchecked.

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“We found content on the platform, which in the context of Kenya’s electoral history, is problematic and could fall into the category of incitement and hate speech along ethnic lines,” explained Odanga Madung, a fellow at the Mozilla Foundation and author of the report.

“Many of the videos we reviewed contained explicit threats of ethnic violence specially targeting members of ethnic communities that are based within the Rift Valley region,” added Mr Madung.

The research was compiled after a review of more than 130 videos from 33 accounts that have been viewed more than four million times.

The videos use images and captions that play on the narratives of the 2007/2008 post-election violence that saw hundreds of people lose their lives and many more displaced.

TikTok officials have been in Nairobi for a week-long visit engaging with not for profit organisations, government officials, the media, corporate organisations, civil societies, educational institutions and other stakeholders on the issue of disinformation.

The platform has also launched an elections hub in Kenya that will act as a command station for users and organisations to raise cases of hate speech and disinformation on TikTok.

“TikTok plays a significant role in shaping discourse around important topics,” noted Mgwili-Sibanda. “Using TikTok as a medium through which to engender an atmosphere of mutual cooperation during Kenya’s national election period is part of our resolve to provide a platform that promotes peace and provides a safe space for positive digital expression.”

TikTok has also launched a three-part series titled #TikTokForPeace in partnership with local internet rights lobby group Article19.

The project entails a series of TikTok LIVE streams hosted at the Policy Innovation Centre in Strathmore University and streamed on the Article19’s TikTok page featuring key opinion formers in government, civil society and academia, and focusing on tolerance, building bridges and active citizenship.

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