By Nikhil Gandhi, India Head - TikTok

 At TikTok, everything we do is rooted in our desire to create a rewarding experience for our users, who turn to the platform for creative expression, showcasing talent, and sharing special moments by using the simplicity and power of short-form video. As a company, we're motivated by a deep sense of responsibility and are committed to developing industry-leading policies and tools that also make TikTok a safe platform for our growing community. 

We believe in operating with principles of trust and transparency. As we continue to take concrete actions on our content moderation, data privacy and security policies, including as part of Covid-19, here is an update for our stakeholders for them to have full awareness.

Building a strong team 

TikTok in India is owned by TikTok Pte Singapore, which is a part of ByteDance, a private company backed by global institutional investors such as: GeneralAtlantic, KKR, Sequoia, Softbank, Coatue, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, and NewEnterprise Associates.

We have leadership teams and employees based in over 30 countries. We have made a steadfast commitment to a robust presence in India, including economic investments and creating jobs, as we continue to recruit even in the tough times of Covid-19. In the last couple of years, our talented and passionate team has grown to over 1,000 employees across eight offices. The team comprises key leadership and senior hires, representing an integral part of the digital ecosystem - who are committed to providing a rich app experience for our users and creators.

Prioritizing data privacy/ security

We are committed to respecting our users' privacy, protecting their data and complying with privacy laws and regulations, such as COPPA, CCPA, and GDPR. The platform collects less user data than many peer companies in the mobile app space, and we store the data at our datacentres in the USA and Singapore. Our company deploys the latest information security and data access policies to limit the number of employees who can access data. 

We conduct periodic internal and external reviews of our security practices on current risks by constantly evaluating our approach to security. We are engaged with the world's leading cyber security firms to accelerate our work in advancing and validating our adherence to globally recognized security control standards. Transparency is the foundation of our next generation security programs underway here at TikTok. Our Cyber Defense, Security Assurance and Data Protection programs will be at the forefront at our new Transparency Center that we recently announced. 

Users on our platform are always in control as they have full ownership and control over their content. Our platform is open by default, and users can make their account private at any time.

Trust & Safety

For further transparency, in January this year, we released comprehensive and expanded Community Guidelines, and launched our first Transparency Report in December 2019. The newly launched Transparency Center in US allows trusted third-party experts to evaluate our moderation systems, processes and policies in a holistic manner. To continuously evolve our content moderation policies, we have created a committee of external experts to advise on and review content moderation policies covering a wide range of topics and other potential issues.

Product safety

We have built many industry-leading in-app features such as Digital Wellbeing, Device Management, Comments Filter and a Safety Centre, which enable our users to take complete control over their accounts to manage and decide who can engage with their content. We also recently launched the Family Safety Mode, a new feature to help parents and guardians keep their teens safe on the platform by controlling the Digital Wellbeing feature on their teen's account.

In the recent past, we have heightened our moderation efforts by monitoring and systematically removing content from our platform that violates our Community Guidelines. For example, in India, we have removed thousands of such videos, including content that could cause imminent harm to public health and safety. Moreover, our enhanced in-app reporting feature - 'Misleading Information' category, allows our users to proactively flag content, relevant especially during times of COVID-19.

Safety campaigns 

During such exceptional situations of COVID-19, the industry fights against misinformation and inappropriate content. We are using a combination of policy, process, partnerships with fact checkers, several in-app initiatives and public service announcements to raise user awareness on the issue. 

Last year, we launched a campaign called #WaitASecToReflect to encourage users to think before they post anything online and be responsible netizens. Our most recent PSA titled #MatKarForward, produced by acclaimed film-maker Anurag Basu, sees Virat Kohli, Ayushmann Khurrana, Kriti Sanon and Sara Ali Khan rally together to raise awareness around the creation and spread of misinformation online.

COVID-19 efforts 

As we continue to do our part in supporting communities in need during a difficult time, it warms our heart to know that users around the world are coming together on the platform to add joy, entertainment, and laughter to their day.  

Globally, we have pledged USD 250 million to support frontline medical workers. We will also provide USD 100 million in ad-credits to help SMBs get back on their feet and USD 25 million for NGOs, trusted health sources, and local authorities. 

To support the Government of India's continuous efforts in providing relief to those affected by COVID-19, we donated INR 100 crore towards medical protective suits, INR 30 crore to the PM Care Fund and INR 5 crore to the Maharashtra Relief Fund. Additionally, we launched an in-app campaign #EveryViewCounts and donated INR 5 crore to NGOs - CRY and Swades Foundation as our users participated through live sessions on the platform.

We are focused on supporting our users by providing access to credible information shared by trusted sources such as MyGov, PIB, WHO, UNDP India and UNICEFIndia which are actively using TikTok to spread awareness. Further to this, we supported the Government of India's initiatives such as the Aarogya Setu app and #TeamMaskForce campaign by BCCI.

It has been humbling and inspiring to see how our TikTok community came forth to participate in in-app initiatives such as #SafeHands challenge in partnership with UNICEF and WHO, #GharBaithoIndia campaign with UNDP India, series of live concerts and interactions with experts and celebrities - including #TikTokConcert, #DineWithMe, #TikTokChef, #EduTok. Several celebrities and creators have been an active part of this effort to share fun and light-hearted content with the community during these unprecedented times.