The Kenyan Film Classification Board (KFCB) has called upon the popular video platform to ban its live streaming feature during late hours. This decision followed a series of meetings between KFCB and TikTok’s leadership, aimed at promoting clean and responsible content on the platform.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on Citizen TV, KFCB Acting CEO Joel Wamalwa said, “We have recommended that TikTok disable its live feature between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. until it can verify that all accounts used during these hours originate from Kenya.”
This move comes in response to concerns raised by citizens and a non-profit organization, CitizenGO, regarding the sharing of explicit content by some Kenyan TikTok users during late-night hours.
“We are concerned that implementing the ban is taking time, and we would like to see this expedited,” expressed CitizenGO in a letter to KFCB.
The KFCB has not only called for the temporary disabling of the live feature but has also requested that TikTok take measures to discourage the posting of explicit content.
They propose tracking a device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number and subsequently disabling it from operating on the platform. This measure aims to deter users from repeatedly creating accounts for explicit content.
“It will be very difficult for a user to purchase devices every now and then to run different accounts,” Wamalwa emphasized.
One of the key concerns raised by the lobby group is the potential harm being done to young Kenyan minds due to explicit content on TikTok.
The platform has seen a surge in popularity among the youth but has also faced criticism for content that goes against cultural and religious values.
“A lot of shameless pornography occurs every night turning the platform to Sodom and Gomorrah. The stance of CitizenGO is a total ban of TikTok from Kenya as this media platform seems ungovernable,” the letter from CitizenGO stated.
This issue gained significant attention after President William Ruto held discussions with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, leading to Chew’s commitment to expunge inappropriate or offensive content from the platform and establish a Kenyan office for coordinated operations on the continent.
A petition calling for the total ban of TikTok in Kenya has also been submitted to the National Assembly. However, the proposal has met mixed reactions among lawmakers.
National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah argued that while valid concerns exist, an outright ban would negatively impact young people earning a living through the platform.
“The petitioner should come to seek ways to regulate the app’s usage, age group restrictions, and content guidelines,” Ichung’wah suggested.
In response to the public’s concerns, National Assembly speaker Moses Wetangula has directed the Public Petitions Committee to evaluate the petition and report its findings by October.
Kenya joins several African countries, including Somalia and Senegal, that have grappled with issues related to TikTok’s content.
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Somalia banned TikTok in August 2023, citing explicit content concerns, while Senegal suspended the platform due to the dissemination of hateful messages.
Uganda and Egypt have also witnessed calls for TikTok bans in recent months.