The TikTok logo is seen on a mobile device in this illustration photo in Warsaw, Poland on 14 July, 2023.

The TikTok logo is seen on a mobile device in this illustration photo in Warsaw, Poland on 14 July, 2023.

Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Kenyan Parliament Considers Petition Urging Ban on TikTok

Kenyan petitioner urges parliament action against TikTok's cultural impact.

A petitioner has called upon members of the Kenyan parliament to address concerns regarding the influence of the widely-used social media platform TikTok on cultural and religious values. Bob Ndolo, the Executive Officer of Bridget Connect Consultancy, formally submitted a petition to the National Assembly on Tuesday, urging legislators to consider measures against the platform's potential erosion of societal values.

In the petition, Ndolo urgently appealed to Members of Parliament (MPs) to impose a ban on TikTok's usage within the country. He asserted that the platform exposes the youth to explicit sexual content, raising alarms about its impact on the nation's cultural and religious fabric.

Expressing deep concern about TikTok's popularity among Kenya's younger population, Ndolo argued that the content disseminated on the application is unsuitable. He pointed to the proliferation of violent imagery, explicit sexual material, hate speech, offensive language, and inappropriate behavior as elements contributing to this perceived threat. Ndolo contended that these aspects collectively pose a serious challenge to the nation's cultural and religious principles.

The petitioner underscored the lack of effective internet content regulation by Kenya's Communications Authority, making it challenging to monitor and control material uploaded onto TikTok.

Furthermore, Ndolo's petition highlighted privacy concerns related to minors, asserting that TikTok's practices have led to several scandals in this context.

Speaker Moses Wetang’ula acknowledged the petitioner's concerns, stating that Ndolo had formally petitioned the parliament to intervene and address the adverse effects of TikTok on the Kenyan population.

Reading from a statement provided by the petitioner, Wetang’ula stated, "The petitioner has decried that the content that is being shared on the social media platform is inappropriate and is promoting violence, vulgar language, explicit sexual content, hate speech which is a serious threat to the cultural and religious values in Kenya."

Additionally, the petitioner alleged that TikTok had shared user information with third-party companies without obtaining users' consent.

Despite no evidence to support this claim, the petitioner asserted that failing to ban TikTok in Kenya would expose the youth to its addictive nature, leading to detrimental impacts.

Wetang’ula urged lawmakers to discuss and investigate TikTok's usage within the East African nation. However, Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah and Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, representing different coalitions, expressed differing views. Both leaders saw regulatory potential rather than an outright ban, citing TikTok's role as a platform for content creation and livelihood generation.

The Public Petitions Committee of the National Assembly has been tasked by the Speaker to investigate TikTok. The committee is expected to provide its findings within 60 days, which will subsequently determine whether the matter will be subjected to parliamentary debate or dismissed.