RIYADH: Short-form video platform TikTok has launched a sector-first safety advisory council for the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey region.
The company set up a similar council in the US in March 2020 followed by one in Asia-Pacific in September of that year, and another in Europe in March.
Bringing together experts from academia and civil society, the MENAT council will be made up of six inaugural members providing subject-matter expertise and advice on the platform’s content moderation policies and practices. They will also work with TikTok to develop safety strategies and hone its approach to safety in the region.
In a statement, the company said that the committee would be “invaluable in addressing the real challenges that impact digital wellbeing today, whilst identifying emerging issues specific to the MENAT region that affect TikTok and its community.”
Farah Tukan, head of public policy for TikTok in the Middle East, Turkey, Africa, and Pakistan, said: “This is a watershed moment, not only for TikTok but for our online communities across the region, who can be content in the knowledge that we are consistently holding ourselves accountable with peer review from industry experts.”
The six inaugural members of the safety advisory council are: Dr. Naila Hamdy, an Egyptian academic and scholar with research interests in journalism and media; Akram Karameh, a digital communications and law specialist; Dr. Hamed Alneyadi, head of corporate communications at the Institute of Applied Technology and board member at ESAFE, the Emirates Council for Work Development, and the Emirates Association for Administration; Ohaila Shomar, a human rights activist currently serving as Palestine general director for the Sawa organization; Myriam Bahri, a trained psychotherapist and strategy consultant; and Dr. Akin Unver, associate professor of international relations at Ozyegin University in Istanbul and a fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Digital Democracy Network.
“We are glad to be collaborating with such esteemed experts from the ecosystem who are lending us the benefit of a wide variety of perspectives, which reflect the diverse nature of our platform and community. We look forward to maturing as a platform in a holistic and safe manner,” Tukan added.