TikTok South Africa recently held a workshop in Johannesburg to help separate fact from fiction about its product, along with sharing insights on how to use the platform to drive business.

It is clearly stemmed from the perceptions people have about TikTok, the countries that banned government officials from downloading the app on their works phones, and most notably, the US wanting to ban TikTok. You can catch up on what has been on the news here, via this article from the Verge on 4 August 2023.

Despite that, TikTok has surpassed over 1.1-billion monthly active users and was the most downloaded app globally in 2022. It received 672 million downloads, according to Statista, followed by Instagram at 548m and Whatsapp 424m.

At its workshop, TikTok asked all the Joburg attendees including media, influencers, content creators, brands and plus ones to share what they felt while using the app, via a URL, anonymously, with the sentiments shared on screen in real-time. Most of the replies were positive. It was anon so some people were totally honest, too!

TikTok Games Night

The company believes its user-friendliness and intuitiveness has enabled individuals from different backgrounds to find their voice and show their creativity. An interesting stat shared from the Power of Creators report by IPSOS was that 85% of users who discovered a product from creators on the platform moved straight from discovery to purchase. That’s a staggeringly high figure.

The company says it has emerged as a powerful marketing tool for businesses looking to expand their reach and engage with a dynamic audience.

Here are some of the highlights from the workshop:


  • Use TikTok Live and Live Subscriptions. It allows users to show appreciation to their favourite content creators with exclusive perks like Subscriber badges, chats, and videos; exclusive lives; custom emotes.
  • Use the new TikTok Series feature. It offers premium content that users can pay to access, which is up to 80 videos up to 20 minutes long. As of June 2023, it is available to those with over 10K subscribers, over 18, have an account older than 30 days, and have posted more than 3 public videos with over 1K views in the last 30 days.
  • There’s a new Text tool on TikTok (think Twitter) that lets users share stories, poems, recipes and other written content. It lets you customise, add sound, receive comments, share a location, allows for duets, kinda like IG Stories.


  • There is a Screen Time dashboard to help manage your time if you are spending too much time on TikTok. You can set daily limits for yourself, sleep reminders and screen-time breaks.
  • Tools for teens and parents: Family Pairing lets parents take control; under 18yo get 60 minutes by default per day, teens can go up to 100 hours; sleep reminders for 13-15 year olds.


  • Kids need to prove they are 13 years old to join
  • Certain features are only available to 16 years+ (Duet, Stitch)
  • You need to be 18 to go Live and receive Gifts
  • Privacy settings are turned on by default + there are teen education videos and guides


  • TikTok was founded by Chinese entrepreneurs but 60% is now owned by global investors like Carlyle Group, General Atlantic and Susquehanna International Group.
  • TikTik does not have an HQ in China (it’s not available in China) but has two HQs – Singapore and Los Angeles.
  • TikTok collects sensitive data of users: Apart from what it collects (listed on the App Store), it says it does not monitor keyboard strokes of what you type; collects precise or approximate location from the US users (then there’s the rest of us), or use voice and face to identify users.
  • You can read the rest here: https://usds.tiktok.com/usds-myths-vs-facts/

We were also quizzed about features on the platform, given a quick 101 on how to use it (don’t use #FYP ever!), and heard from content creators and brands how they use it. It was overall a fun, engaging evening, credit to TikTok for doing things differently.