Filipino ‘tita’ helps keep TikTok a safe space
It should come as no surprise for the Philippines, one of the countries with the highest TikTok usage.
A certified Filipino “tita” (auntie) sits on the video sharing platform’s Safety Advisory Council, a body that makes recommendations on how to implement or improve TikTok’s community standards, including removing certain content and taking action against violators.
Meet Mona Magno Veluz, the content creator also known as “Mighty Magulang (parent),” who specializes in educational materials, particularly history, genealogy and general fact-checking, as well as the concerns of people with disabilities. “Primarily, what I bring to the council is really a unique perspective of how content creators think, as well as the perspective of the Philippines,’’ Veluz said at a media event held by TikTok Philippines on Thursday to share how the company tries to maintain a safe, inclusive space.
“The council is composed of a lot of experts who are from (nongovernment organizations), who are from academe. But some of them are not really, I think, published on Tiktok personally. So that is a different perspective on things,” Veluz said.
“I also am an advocate for disability inclusion. I have 10 years of experience as the longest-serving national president of the Autism Society Philippines. And beyond that, because of the content that I create on history and genealogy, I have a unique position to talk about digital literacy education in a civic space. And that is something that I would like to continue talking about and help inspire action.”
Kanji Siriprapa Weerachaising of TikTok Southeast Asia further explained: “We bring experts like Mona together to bring other perspectives, and also represent a diverse area of background.’’
The council, she said, holds quarterly meeting consultations on new features or issues that pop up in every region “to make sure everything is in control and also develop not only the issue that we face today but … what might be faced in the future.”
Not moderation group
But Veluz clarified that the council is not a moderation group, “so please don’t send me your complaints, or when items are taken down.”
“Our role in the Safety Advisory Council is recommendatory. We have conversations about issues that are currently at TikTok, and we look at policy recommendations and feedback. That is essentially what that council is,” she added.
Veluz said her inclusion in the council would allow her to contribute to online safety, help fight disinformation and misinformation, “inspire positive conversations in the digital space (and) bring to the fore the issues of our young people with disabilities.”
Have that talk
She appealed to parents, especially of minors using TikTok, to have conversations with their children about their digital consumption.
“(W)e have to build a relationship with our children so that they can share what they are seeing online, because you’re concerned about things on the internet in general. And that is a conversation that we can mostly have, while we get to know our children as they age.”
The Philippines is the eighth top user of TikTok worldwide, with around 43.4 million Filipinos consuming or generating content on the platform as of last year.
The United States is the top user with 113.1 million, followed by Indonesia with 109.9 million, and Brazil with 82.2 million. —CONTRIBUTED