A formal petition has been submitted to Moses Wetang’ula, the Speaker of the National Assembly, urging for the prohibition of TikTok in Kenya.
Wetang’ula confirmed that the petition originated from Bob Ndolo, an executive officer at the Briget Connect Consultancy.
During parliamentary proceedings, Wetang’ula revealed that the petitioner raised concerns about the dissemination of inappropriate content on TikTok.
The petition highlighted issues such as violence, explicit language, explicit sexual content, and hate speech, which were regarded as significant threats to the cultural and religious values of Kenya.
The petitioner further alleged that TikTok unlawfully collects user data, encompassing device details and user locations, and purportedly shares this information with third-party entities without obtaining user consent.
Bob Ndolo, the petitioner, underscored the potential adverse effects of TikTok’s addictive nature on academic performance and mental health among the youth.
He called upon the Parliament to take prompt action to safeguard Kenyan citizens from the perceived detrimental impacts of TikTok.
In the course of the discussion, Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah acknowledged the substantial presence of parliamentary members on TikTok and advocated against an outright ban.
Instead, he proposed that the government focus on regulating the use of the app and its content.
We cannot as a House preside over banning of any app, we cannot fight with technology”,Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah
Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi emphasized the significance of not isolating Kenya in the digital age, suggesting the exploration of alternative applications that empower young people to create content and generate income.
We are living in difficult times where unemployment levels are high. Our youth are looking for opportunities for employment,”
As a country which is responsible, we should be looking for other apps to help them create content and earn a living.”Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi
Preceding the petition, concerns had arisen within the Kenyan populace regarding the content shared by young users on TikTok.
Of note, users, particularly within the live section, were observed to share explicit content, inappropriate messages, and engage in bullying behavior.
This discussion underscores the intricate challenge of effectively regulating digital platforms while striking a balance between safeguarding cultural values, user well-being, and the freedom of expression.
Drawing from global examples, TikTok has faced bans in certain regions.
For instance, India prohibited TikTok in June 2020 due to security concerns.
The Indian government cited unauthorized user data collection and storage, deeming it a national security threat.
Likewise, Bangladesh banned TikTok in September 2020, attributing its decision to the platform’s potential for spreading misinformation, propaganda, and posing a threat to religious and social values.