Kenya, Tiktok agree on content moderation deal

TikTok has reportedly committed to moderating content on its app in Kenya, country’s presidency said on Thursday, after a petition was submitted to the parliament urging a ban on the widely used video-sharing platform.

TikTok, a platform owned by the Chinese tech conglomerate ByteDance, is currently under extensive global scrutiny due to heightened worries about privacy and security.

“Short-form video hosting service TikTok will work with Kenya in reviewing and monitoring its content,” President William Ruto’s office said in a statement after a call with TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew.

“This new development means that inappropriate or offensive content will be expunged from the platform,” it added.

Ruto also mentioned on social media that Chew had consented to establishing a presence in Kenya, aimed at “coordinating” TikTok’s activities within Africa.

No additional information was provided regarding the specifics of the arrangement or the anticipated commencement date for operations of the Kenyan office.

The announcement made on Thursday follows closely, within a span of just 10 days, after Kenyan lawmakers were presented with a petition by a private individual advocating for the ban of TikTok in the East African nation due to concerns of promoting indecency.

“The petitioner decries that while it has gained popularity among the youth, the content that is being shared on the platform is inappropriate thus promoting violence, explicit sexual content, hate speech,” parliament speaker Moses Wetangula said at the time.

Parliament is set to launch an investigation into TikTok’s utilization in Kenya, and a verdict is anticipated within approximately two months.

Due to its editing capabilities and an AI-driven algorithm, TikTok has garnered widespread popularity, particularly among younger demographics, amassing a user base of over one billion.

Facing rigorous Western scrutiny due to its connections with China, the company refutes any claims of being under Beijing’s influence.

In the current month, the company unveiled alterations to adhere to stringent EU regulations, which encompass granting European users the option to deactivate “personalization,” a functionality that prompts individuals to continue viewing videos by suggesting content in line with their individual preferences.

Meanwhile, Somalia’s government declared on Sunday its prohibition of the platform, citing its exploitation by terrorists to disseminate propaganda.

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