Why petitioner wants TikTok to be banned in Kenya

A Kenyan CEO has petitioned Parliament to forbid the use of the well-known social media app TikTok in Kenya.

Bob Ndolo, the CEO of Bridget Connect Consultancy, the petitioner, claims that TikTok’s explicit content encourages violence (sex), hate speech, and vulgarity, all of which are detrimental to Kenyan cultural and religious values.

“The petition decries that while it has gained popularity among the youths in Kenya, the content that is being shared on the platform is inappropriate thus promoting violence, explicit sexual content, hate speech, vulgar language, and offensive behavior which is a serious threat to the cultural and religious views of Kenya,” Wetangula said on Tuesday.

“The petitioner is also concerned that if the platform is not prohibited in Kenya, the Apps addictive nature will lead to a decline in academic performances and ascend in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and sleep deprivation among the youth.”

The petitioner based his argument on failure by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to regulate Tiktok and therefore unable to remove or block content deemed to be inappropriate or offensive to users.

He also cites similar bans of the application by other nations including the United States over its breach of privacy while collecting personal information.

“TikTok has been implicated in several privacy scandals over the past years. For instance, in 2019, the app was fined $5.7 million by the USA Federal Trade Commission for illegally collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 by collecting data such as names, email addresses, and locations from young users without their parents consent thus violating Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” he stated.

The speaker has now directed the National Assembly’s Public Petitions Committee to consider the petition and report its findings.

“Having established that the matter raised in the petition is well within the Authority of these House, and further that matters raised in the petition are not pending before any court of law, Constitutional or legal body, I hereby commit the Public Petitions Committee for considerations pursuant to Standing Order 208 A,” Wetangula said.

This comes even as ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo last month revealed plans to regulate the platform, especially during the night following reports of all manner of ‘illegalities’ at the wee hours of the night.

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