Users of short-form video sharing app TikTok were in for a surprise late on Sunday night, when Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray got on to the app that people either love to hate or hate to love.
Popular across demographics, the app is almost always in the news for what millennials call cringe-worthy videos. Ever since the lockdown was announced in the country, the app has also come under police scrutiny, with several people caught after they shared their blatant violations on the app.
On Monday, Mr. Thackeray, through his official account @cmomaharashtra, reached out to citizens asking them to not give the crisis a communal colour.
As I have said before, I will not tolerate any attempts to divide the people of my State on the basis of caste, creed or religion and will not allow anyone to do so, the Chief Minister said, referring to the recent attempts at casting slurs on the Muslim community due to the Tablighi Jamaat incident in Delhi.
Not just Mr. Thackeray, but other government officials like Deputy Inspector General (Maharashtra Cyber) Harish Baijal and Dr. Anup Kumar Yadav, Commissioner (Health Services), Maharashtra, also took to the app to address citizens.
In the backdrop of the current global pandemic, it is our request that you think before you hit the share or forward button on any kind of misinformation, Mr. Baijal said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Yadav said, We thank the citizens from the bottom of our hearts for their support in fighting the crisis. With your continued support, we can stop the spread of this virus.
A statement from TikTok said agencies like the World Health Organization, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Childrens Fund, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and International Federation of Red Cross are also using TikTok to spread awareness on the pandemic and share updates on how to stay safe.
WHO, which has a following of 1.1 million and 4.7 likes on TikTok, has uploaded a number of videos of their team of doctors clarifying facts about the virus and its transmission, busting ongoing myths and conducting livestreams regularly.
Over the past few weeks, our platform has prioritised informative content and supported several government and law enforcement agencies, as well as non-profit organisations across India in disseminating information regarding responsible practices in an entertaining and responsible manner. We have been heartened to see the manner in which our user community has rallied to the call for solidarity in fighting the spread of this virus across the country, a TikTok spokesperson said.