A petition seeking to ban TikTok in Kenya, over explicit content and concerns about data privacy breaches, has been tabled in parliament.
According to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Moses Wetangula, the petition filed by one Bob Ndolo, an executive officer of the Briget Connect Consultancy, seeks to have TikTok banned in Kenya over explicit content and lack of privacy among other reasons.
“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,” the petition read by Wetangula reads in part.
The petition further argues that “the internet application is not regulated by the Communications Authority of Kenya leading to the failure to remove or block content that is offensive.”
On matters of privacy, the petition further states that “The platform collects and shares information about its users with the third party company without users’ consent”.
TikTok to be banned in Kenya? There are fears about Gen Z’s mental health and application
Ndolo stated that if the app is not banned in Kenya, TikTok’s addictive nature would lead to a decline in academic performance, and an uptick in mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation among the youth.
“The petitioner wants the house to intervene, and take immediate action and safeguard Kenyans from TikTok’s negative effects.”
The petition comes in the wake of growing public concerns around the content being shared on Tik Tok, especially around nudity. TikTok is quite popular among Gen Z in Kenya.
TikTok has become increasingly important to Kenyans. Kenyans on the app are world-leading for the general usage metric; this is according to the Reuters Institute Digital News report 2023 survey.
The report shows that 54% of English-speaking (because the survey was conducted in English) Kenyans that use TikTok do so for general purpose reasons. Additionally, 29% of Kenyans with internet access use it specifically for accessing news.
Thailand ranked second while South Africa came third in the measurement of how much their population of TikTok users used the app for general use.
Note: this report is being weightily misrepresented on other Kenyan news outlets. Some of these outlets are framing the ‘54%’ figure as a representation of how many Kenyans use TikTok. That is not the case, the figure, as has been stated references how many English-speaking, Kenyan TikTok users use the app for general reasons.