TikTok establishes MENAT Safety Advisory Council

TikTok launched the region’s industry-first MENAT Safety Advisory Council, intended to guide the platform on safety best practice and policy. Bringing together leaders from academia and civil society, the six inaugural members will provide subject matter expertise across the spectrum including advice on content moderation policies and practices, as well as working to develop strategies to further grow TikTok’s approach to safety in the region. Most importantly, the committee will 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 at TikTok Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Pakistan commented on the establishment of the MENAT Safety Advisory Council 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. 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”.

The six members of the MENAT Safety Advisory Council comprise of:

Dr. Naila Hamdy, an Egyptian academic and scholar with research interests in the area of the journalism and media professions, international communication, and traditional and social media production and consumption, of which she has taught, published and consulted on related contexts. She is recognized for her contribution to the strengthening of professional standards in the Egyptian media sector, through her efforts on launching the Media Development Program.

Akram Karameh, a digital communication and law specialist and. Since 2008, Akram has been sought after to advise and upskill communities, individuals, professionals and organizations in cyber resilience and online safety across the Middle East, and East Africa. He has been instrumental in setting a national online safety strategy in Lebanon, and training social workers, educators, students throughout the Middle East with UNESCO, Microsoft, and World Vision, to name few.

Dr. Hamed Alneyadi is the Director Executive Government Relations of IAT/ACTVET and holds board member positions at ESAFE, Emirates Council for Work Development, and Emirates Association for Administration. Alneyadi led several government projects for cyberspace and information security. He is also a senior member of IEEE and member of the academic and Arab scientists council of the Arab league.

Ohaila Shomar is a human rights activist currently taking the role of Palestine General Director of Sawa Organization. She has developed anti-violence programs and published manuals on eliminating violence against women and children. Throughout her career she has established five helplines for women survivors of violence as well as a child protection helpline in Palestine. She also consults with national and international organizations working on women’s and children’s issues against violence and has published a number of research works.

Myriam Bahri MBA, is a trained psychotherapist and a strategy consultant. She joined Morocco’s NGO specialised in suicide prevention among youngsters, Sourire de Reda, in 2019 as a general manager. She has been running a suicide helpline for nearly 3 years and contributed to completely digitize its operations. Myriam also focuses on developing partnerships to drive institutions and media attention towards youngsters’ mental health and well-being. In 2021, she contributed with a local task force to the launch of Morocco’s first platform to report cyber bullying and sexual abuse. She also works with a group of 28 NGOs to elaborate Morocco’s civil society’s report on children’s rights for the United Nations.

Dr. Akin Unver is an associate professor of international relations at Ozyegin University in Istanbul and a fellow of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace ‘Digital Democracy Network’. Previously he was a research fellow at the Oxford University’s Center for Technology and Global Affairs, Oxford Internet Institute, the Alan Turing Institute in London, and taught graduate courses on political conflict at Princeton, Michigan, and Oxford. His research interests sit at the intersection of emerging technologies, diplomacy, and international security, with a particular focus on how social media affects subnational conflict and civil war dynamics. Dr. Unver also previously served as a scientific advisor to a number of international organizations on technology and security policy. He serves as an associate editor of the Global Studies Quarterly, and a member of the International Studies Association’s (ISA) Governing Council. He has a PhD in Government from the University of Essex.

The company stated that safety is the bedrock of our diverse, creative community, which is why our work in this space is never done. We are always reviewing our existing features and policies, and innovating to take bold new measures to prioritise safety. Today, we are pleased to share our latest initiative in this area as we launch TikTok’s Safety Advisory Council for the MENAT region.