PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. had set partnership with video hosting service Tiktok for “edutainment,” educational and entertainment to help small scale sellers and entrepreneurs, particularly with the country’s 50 million users.
The President wanted Tiktok to train local sellers, particularly those in the rural areas, to promote their products.
President Marcos noted the popularity of Tiktok among its users and agreed with Tiktok Chief Executive Officer Shou Zi Chew on how to train local sellers and promote their products through the platform.
“We want to give more resources and highlight and train the local sellers in the more rural parts of the country because that’s one thing interesting on the platform. What we want to do is highlight local products, especially from smaller [sellers],” Chew told President Marcos during their meeting in San Francisco, California.
“We have a lot of this in Vietnam, a lot of this in Indonesia, a lot of this in Malaysia, a lot of this … and highlight that, give it a platform to sell around the country and export around the world. That’s the plan,” Chew said.
Chew said they are very excited about two projects under “edutainment”, with more inclusivity for smaller sellers around the country.
But with 50 million people on the platform, its safety is important to Tiktok because it is for creativity and entertainment, Chew said.
“So, we want to keep it at that. [The] rules that keep people civil and keep the platform safe. So, we have community guidelines like no violence, no [to] sexual abuse material, we have all these guidelines and we have a team of people who moderate content,” he explained.
“So, if there’s anything that crosses the guidelines, we will moderate. And we have local representative who is working very closely with one of the regulators as well. We get feedback and move very quickly if there is something that we spot is violated on the platform and that’s something that we take extremely, seriously.”
President Marcos agreed with Chew, saying it is quite difficult to differentiate between what is just a strong opinion as against what is considered as fake news.
“But just the differences in opinion and how they’re expressed, that sometimes is very hard to determine whether you… where is it excessive and where is it acceptable but I suppose you have all the rules and… that you need to do that,” the President remarked.
“Because Tiktok, I mean from the beginning was quite really just a very lighthearted platform but then just because of its popularity like for example, for someone like me who’s in politics, if you’re talking to 50 million people, then I need to be part of that conversation …So, it’s inevitable … the many sides, multi-faceted side will come in.”
TikTok is a short-form video hosting service developed by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
The video hosting service was introduced to the Philippines during its international launch in May 2017 and, in April last year, the company launched TikTok Shop, TikTok’s e-commerce section where users can browse and purchase products they see in videos on their feeds.
TikTok sees Southeast Asia as its biggest emerging market outside the USA, with its 325 million monthly active users covering nearly half the region’s population.
Last year, TikTok Shop’s GMV in Southeast Asia was US$4.4 billion, a fraction of the region’s e-commerce GMV of US$131 billion that year.