A petition seeking to ban TikTok in Kenya has been tabled in Parliament.
Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula says the petition by Bob Ndolo, an executive officer of the Briget Connect Consultancy, cites explicit content and lack of privacy among others.
“The content that is being shared on the platform is inappropriate thus promoting violence, explicit sexual content, hate speech, vulgar language, offensive behavior which is a serious threat to the cultural and religious values of Kenya,” Wetangula said, quoting the petition.
The petitioner, Wetangula said, avers that in Kenya, the internet application is not regulated by the Communications Authority of Kenya leading to the failure to remove or block content that is offensive.
The Chinese-based social media app that is popular among the GenZ’s has faced challenges, particularly in the US where it is accused of being a surveillance tool.
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte of USA was the first to sign a legislation to ban the short video social media app from operating in the state to “protect Montanans” from the alleged surveillance.
In Kenya, the petitioner claims that the social media app collects data from people and shares it with third parties without their consent thus violating their rights.
“The platform has shared information about its users with the third party company without users’ consent,” the petitioner states in what has rattled social media users.
TikTok snowballed to become the most popular app in 2019 and 2020 when it recorded close to 700 million downloads and has remained on an increasing trajectory since.
Here are some of the comments from social media users:
“I wonder who’s bright idea this is? Maybe we just go for the whole Internet while we are at it. Save ourselves some legislative time,” said former Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Ambassador Macharia Kamau who tweeted in response to Capital FM’s 411 Breaking News of the story.
“Really where will the artists market their content?,” he wrote.
Others like Kemoli Sagala felt Parliament should first investigate claims that TikTok poses a national security threat.
“May be Parliament should investigate whether or not a backchannel exists that collects intel and its impact on national security when app is uploaded on government provided gadgets,” he tweeted.