Kenyan lawmakers to investigate TikTok amid calls for ban over inappropriate content
The Speaker of the House, Moses Wetang’ula, conveyed the petitioner’s worries about TikTok’s alleged promotion of violence, explicit sexual content, hate speech, and offensive behavior, which are seen as conflicting with Kenya’s cultural and religious values.
Kenyan lawmakers are investigating the use of TikTok within the country in response to a petition calling for the social media platform to be banned due to its alleged ‘inappropriate’ content. The Speaker of the House, Moses Wetang’ula, conveyed concerns from the petitioner, Bob Ndolo, a private citizen, stating that TikTok promotes harmful elements like violence, explicit sexual content, hate speech, and offensive behavior, which go against Kenya’s cultural and religious values.
Wetang’ula also highlighted worries about the platform’s addictive nature contributing to decreased academic performance and increased mental health issues among the youth, such as depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. The parent company of TikTok, ByteDance Ltd, headquartered in Beijing, did not respond to an email seeking comment. The Speaker has tasked the Public Petitions Committee with examining the situation, and their findings will determine whether further action is taken after the usual 60-day reporting period.
Why does it matter?
This dilemma resonates beyond Kenya’s borders, as many countries grapple with balancing the benefits of free speech and creativity with the potential risks of harmful content and cultural erosion. Senegal recently suspended TikTok over concerns about hateful content being disseminated. Despite its global popularity with over 1 billion users, TikTok is also facing potential bans in major markets like the US and the European Union, where concerns about data privacy practices persist.