August 8, 2022
No Intent To Shut Down Facebook, Kenyan Ministers Say After Watchdog’s Ultimatum Over Hate Speech

Kenya has no intention of shutting down Facebook, which is owned by Meta, its ICT minister said on Monday, giving the platform seven days to comply with rules on hate speech or facial suspension by the national cohesion watchdog. After.

The National Commission for Cohesion and Integration (NCIC) on Friday accused Facebook of violating Kenya’s constitution and laws by failing to combat hate speech and provocation on the platform ahead of the August 9 national elections.

“We have no plans to shut down any of these platforms,” ​​Information, Communications and Technology Minister Joe Mucheru told Reuters. “Freedom of the press is what we cherish, be it (traditional) media or social media.”

His statement echoed that of the Interior Minister, Fred Matiangi, who accused the NCIC of making haphazard decisions over the weekend, and vowed the platform would not be shut down.

“They (NCIC) should have consulted comprehensively as they do not have the power to detain anyone. They do not give license to anyone,” Mucheru said.

When it issued its ultimatum, the NCIC said it was in consultation with the Communications Authority of Kenya, which regulates the industry, adding that it plans to suspend Facebook’s operations if it does not comply. will recommend.

A company spokesperson told Reuters that Meta has taken “extensive steps” to eliminate hate speech and inflammatory content, and it is intensifying those efforts ahead of the election.

Mucheru agreed, saying the platform had removed 37,000 hate speech-related posts during the election period.

Supporters of major presidential candidates, veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga and Vice President William Ruto, have used social media platforms to praise their candidates, persuade others to join them or oppose various misadventures. accused of.

Some of Kenya’s 45 tribes have targeted each other during violence in the last elections, but Mucheru said this election is different and the country is enjoying peace and tranquility despite political activity.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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