Somalia bans TikTok, Telegram, and 1XBet to curb the spread of indecent content

The country’s communications minister, Jama Hassan Khalif, cited concerns about these platforms being used by both terrorists and immoral groups to circulate disturbing images and false information.

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Somalia has taken measures to limit the spread of inappropriate content and propaganda by banning popular platforms such as TikTok, the messaging app Telegram, and the online betting website 1XBet. The country’s communications minister, Jama Hassan Khalif, stated that terrorists and immoral groups use these applications to disseminate disturbing images and misinformation.

This decision follows the frequent use of TikTok and Telegram by the insurgent group al Shabaab to showcase their activities. The ban was issued before a military offensive against al Shabaab to eradicate the al Qaeda-linked organization in the next five months.

Internet service providers have until August 24th to comply with the ban. TikTok, Telegram, and 1XBet have not yet responded to requests for comment from Reuters.

Why does it matter?

This move also aligns with concerns raised in other regions, such as the United States, where TikTok has faced potential bans due to alleged connections to the Chinese government. However, banning platforms outright could restrict the citizens’ right to access information, communicate, and express themselves online. Five plaintiffs asserted that the ban violated their First Amendment rights in Montana, which became the inaugural US state to ban TikTok. Governments must carefully deliberate their decisions about bans, ensuring a delicate balance between preserving national security and ensuring the rights of citizens in the digital era.