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There’s more to TikTok than cute dancing

By Kristoffer Rada Published Jul 27, 2022 5:00 am

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Two years ago, a pandemic clouded the exciting summer plans we had in mind for TikTok as strict movement restrictions and extended isolation periods became the norm. But during this period, TikTok would go on to entertain and connect millions of Filipinos through homegrown content of endless creativity, bringing joy and a sense of community amid the global health crisis.

With more than 259.1 million views, the hashtag #SalamatFrontliners became an avenue for Filipinos to show gratitude, admiration, and support to frontliners who were risking their lives to save people in need and keep fellow Filipinos safe. Workers in the medical, military, and public service industries were not the only ones honored on TikTok; creators also made sure to recognize store staff and delivery workers.

Read what Tiffany Diep wrote about TikTok in InBetween: Viral uprising: The content revolution that is TikTok

The #FrontlinersDanceChallenge, on the other hand, notched over 87.6 million views as frontliners danced to Rachel Platten's Fight Song to express their empathy and compassion toward those afflicted by the virus. The videos also fortified their promise to continue doing their job and expressed their collective hope to win the battle against COVID-19.

#SalamatFrontliners showcased Tiktok users' different ways of showing gratitude to the COVID-19 frontliners.
Providing support where needed

On April 9, 2020, TikTok announced a donation of $1 million to the Philippine General Hospital Medical Foundation Inc. as part of its global efforts to help the health care community in the fight against COVID-19. TikTok also committed to donating $250 million globally to support efforts to combat the pandemic.

Philippine General Hospital's new COVID-19 ward, which was donated by TikTok to aid in the fight against the pandemic

The donation was used to build a COVID-19 ward at the Philippine General Hospital called the Bayanihan Isolation Unit. Built on one of the hospital’s carparks, the ward is a 631-square-meter facility equipped with 42 regular and 10 intensive care unit beds. With the new ward, PGH was able to accommodate more COVID-19 patients who needed urgent care.

EduTok Academy and #TikTokU

Recognizing its extensive reach and widespread usage by the Filipino public, especially during the pandemic, TikTok identified education as an area where it could effectively make a difference.

In May 2020, TikTok launched the EduTok Academy Program in the Philippines as part of an umbrella initiative to diversify and grow educational content on the platform. Through EduTok Academy, teachers were able to create and share interesting educational content that students could relate to and easily access.

From grammar to math trivia to tips on investment and studying, TikTok has become a valuable hub for education and learning.

Anchored on its strength in short-form videos, TikTok then officially launched the #TikTokU Program to bring micro-learning straight to everyone’s smartphones. To date, more than 4.7 billion views have been garnered for micro-learning videos, including content featuring practical tips and educational information made by talented local creators.

As more young people embraced social media during the lockdowns, TikTok sought to champion digital literacy, and today it continues the fight against harmful misinformation.

Protecting the Filipino community

As many Filipinos continued to engage through the education vertical component, the local government unit of the City of Manila partnered with TikTok in February 2021 to launch its #VaccineAlamin campaign, tapping the vertical’s popularity. The campaign supported the Philippines’ nationwide vaccination program by educating Filipinos about the COVID-19 vaccines as well as encouraging them to make informed decisions about being vaccinated.

TikTok’s features such as TikTok LIVE and various other educational hashtags would play an important role in enabling the government to provide the right health information in a fun and relatable way.

COMELEC and TikTok's Election Information Project was designed with the goal of promoting an honest and fair election with a high voter turnout

In Sept. 2021, the Commission on Elections and TikTok formed a significant partnership through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The Comelec harnessed TikTok’s platform to provide the public with accurate information on voter registration efforts to encourage a higher voter turnout in the May 2022 national elections.

GMA News and Public Affairs likewise took to TikTok for its #eLeksyonSerye campaign, which featured election information such as voter rights and responsibilities, the country’s political system, and an interactive Online E-Leksyon Quiz.

TikTok will always work toward creating joy, inspiring the world, providing fun and authentic experiences, and ensuring a safe and positive space for its users.

These partnerships highlighted TikTok's commitment to protecting the integrity of its platform and combating election misinformation. The platform also has ongoing partnerships with Protection Group International (PGI) and Internews as additional means to identify coordinated inauthentic behavior on the platform and further strengthen its fight against harmful misinformation. These partnerships complement TikTok’s existing partnership with the global news agency Agence France-Presse to help identify and remove inaccurate content.

Commitment to carry on the fight

As more young people embraced social media during the lockdowns, TikTok sought to champion digital literacy, and today it continues the fight against harmful misinformation. In addition, TikTok magnified the importance of online safety through its safety campaign, #thinkb4youdo. The campaign promotes safe online behavior on TikTok and encourages users to always think twice before doing anything on the Internet or before participating in online challenges.

More than just dancing and viral challenges, TikTok is a space for all kinds of creators looking to spark joy.

TikTok also held a webinar called “Creating a Safe Online Environment for Creative Expression, where it was joined by the Department of Education and UNICEF. TikTok discussed its efforts to keep the platform safe for its community, while celebrity parent and TikTok creator Amy Perez shared her experience using the TikTok platform.

Inspired by its community, TikTok looks ahead

As we continue to adapt to and navigate our way toward a new way of living, TikTok will keep evolving, diversifying, and growing with the times. Just recently, for instance, in keeping with the migration to online shopping, #TikTokMademeBuyIt trended across the world. The hashtag showed users secret store finds that they could discover on TikTok.

TikTok’s next mission is to empower local small to midsized businesses, many of which were badly hit by the pandemic. The platform recently introduced TikTok Shop, an innovation that brings together online sellers, buyers and creators into the TikTok app, marrying entertainment and shopping and introducing Filipinos to the concept of “Shoppertainment.”

But, amid all these new offerings, some things will remain reassuringly constant on TikTok: TikTok will always work toward creating joy, inspiring the world, providing fun and authentic experiences, and ensuring a safe and positive space for its users.

See you on TikTok!