TikTok rolls out #safehands challenge, partners WHO to debunk virus myths

TikTok has partnered with World Health Organisation (WHO) to launch a #safehands challenge to encourage users to show what they are thinking while washing their hands in a video. The #safehands challenge garnered 1.7 billion views at the time of writing and is part of its efforts to tackle the spread of COVID-19. 

In a statement to A+M, Cheah Sheau Mei, user and content operations manager, TikTok Malaysia, said the challenge aims to raise awareness on good hand hygiene in the face of the COVID-19 situation. It aims to spread the message that washing hands is key, and all it takes is 40 seconds to wash them. Users in Malaysia who have uploaded their #safehands video include singer Faizal Tahir, radio station HOT FM, as well as Wingkeh and Kefith, the first runner-up for the online contest TikTok All-Stars Southeast Asia 2019.

Separately, TikTok and WHO also collaborated to launch a COVID-19 FAQ information page on its app, which aims to empower its creators with information and debunk myths about the virus. According to Cheah, the COVID-19 FAQ provides trustworthy information, offers tips on staying safe and preventing the spread of the virus, and dispels myths around COVID-19. Cheah also told A+M that the information page is a global initiative, and is linked to local health authorities to provide localised data.

The COVID-19 FAQ shows statistics about the virus, and includes segments such as "Protect Yourself", where users can find out more about protective measures they can take; "Q&A", where basic questions about COVID-19 are answered; and "Mythbusters", where users can find out which speculations about COVID-19 protective measures are false. TikTok has also included a helpline for users to call, as well as a link to local resources.

Additionally, Cheah said TikTok has hosted a number of livestreams with WHO experts, with users in over 70 countries tuning in for trusted information and live Q&A. TikTok has also placed labels on coronavirus-related videos which point users to trusted information, with resources directly found in the app, as well as in a dedicated COVID-19 section located on TikTok's Safety Center page.

Meanwhile, in Singapore this month, TikTok partnered with Singaporean radio app Camokakis to launch a new online challenge titled "#SGUnited", which aims to instill positivity, community-spiritedness and unity amongst Singaporeans. The challenge encourages Singaporeans to upload TikTok videos of their own hand-washing motions choreographed to the #SGunited challenge song, which was produced by the Music and Drama Company and performed by local artistes Gail Belmonte and Khim Ng. Camokakis also encouraged users to use custom TikTok stickers and special in-app effects to create their videos.

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