Our motive is to provide localised user experience: Raj Mishra, TikTok

Raj Mishra, Business Head of TikTok India, says users' privacy and protection are of utmost importance to the brand

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Dec 6, 2018 8:25 AM

TikTok is a short video sharing app where users can watch and create quick videos. Earlier this year, popular sister app Musical.ly was merged to it. Founded in 2012, TikTok is one of the country’s fastest-growing tech start-ups and is known for its use of algorithms and artificial intelligence to select videos and other features.

In an interview with exchange4media, Raj Mishra, Business Head, TikTok India, spoke about the app, how the brand keeps its creators engaged, product innovations and more.

Edited Excerpts:

How is TikTok planning to strengthen its leadership position in India?
Our mission is to capture and present creativity, knowledge and moments that matter. TikTok enables everyone to be a creator and encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos.

What enhances the experience is TikTok’s ‘For You’ feed. It offers personalised recommendations to users according to their viewing preferences. The content is curated in a way that instead of serving up videos from only the popular users on the platform, users also get recommendations of video content shared by regular users of the app. With this feature, TikTok is enabling more users to find success in being a creator on the platform and reaching new, global audience.

Why was Musical.ly merged to TikTok when it was already popular among audience?
Through TikTok, we want to capture the world’s creativity and knowledge and remind everyone to treasure every precious life moment. Combining musical.ly and TikTok was a natural fit, given the shared mission of both the experiences. TikTok not only ensures that the content shared is localised, based on the users viewing patterns and interest, but at the same time allows all users to showcase their talent in front of a larger, global audience. 

What is the core business model of TikTok? Are you majorly dependent on monetization? If yes, then how are you looking to strengthen it?
Currently our focus is on making our app better than before and creating engaging content for our users. We want to continuously provide fresh, novel features on TikTok and ensure that our users have an excellent in-app experience.

How are artificial intelligence and machine learning helping you in sorting content according to consumer demand? Any plans to come up with new product innovations?
TikTok incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) technology that has global applications and provides unique in-app features, thus allowing users to enjoy unique and personalised experiences.  AI technology enables video and image recognitions. Users can make short format videos within minutes, and share them with their friends and fans on the app. At TikTok, our advanced machine learning algorithms are constantly optimising and personalising content feeds for our users. This allows us to customize content feeds based on individual preferences and deliver new content based on topics and trends users find most interesting. We are working on enhancing the user experience further and to innovate ourselves to ensure we stay relevant.

TikTok is one of the most downloaded apps of 2018, but internet security experts warn that it is not appropriate for young users. What are you doing to change this notion, as it can seriously affect the business of the brand?
Apart from ensuring best user experience, privacy and protection are of utmost importance to us. We are committed to maintaining a safe in-app atmosphere for our vibrant and creative user community. We have recently launched a new safety centre and have robust community guidelines in place which provide tips and resources to help users navigate through a range of topics and build a safe online experience.

Overall, our priority is to promote a positive environment that allows our users to showcase their talent on a global platform. We have also implemented a moderation technology based on an algorithm and a robust human team. The moderation team, based on the expansive community guidelines, ensures the digital wellbeing of our users.

How do you consider India as a market in terms of business and how much of your content is localised for Indian audience?

India is an important market for us, given the presence of a vibrant user base. In addition to TikTok being a global platform, we are dedicated to bringing in the localised user experience regardless of which market we operate in.

Our localisation strategy helps us in encouraging users to create relevant and local content along with incorporating global trends in localized flavour. Our operations team is in sync with the market needs to ensure that TikTok provides the best community support for creativity and discovery for our local users.

As part of our journey to discover and provide a platform to showcase creativity, we are continuously working towards improving the user experience and delivering a more diverse and compelling content.

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