“TikTok Is Becoming A Hub For War Propaganda,” Kindiki Warns

By Debra Rono

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki has revealed that social media platforms especially TikTok have been used to disseminate propaganda and malicious content meant to spread fear among its users.

According to Kindiki, criminals have taken advantage of these social media platforms to create and spread illegal and malicious content that endangers the safety and security of the public.

Speaking before the National Assembly Committee on Petitions to respond to a petition by Bob Ndolo regarding the banning of TikTok in Kenya, the CS disclosed that terrorist groups now use platforms like TikTok to spread war propaganda.

“All the social media platforms including TikTok have now become a real theatre for criminal misuse to endanger public safety and security,” he remarked.

“Tiktok and other social media platforms are increasingly being used to spread malicious content which is illegal, they are also being used to generate propaganda, including propaganda for war.”

Mr Kindiki also added that terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab have used social media to share either real or curated terror activities in a bid to advance terror across the world.

During the seating, Kindiki gave the government a stand on the ban of ByteDance-owned apps in Kenya. Kindiki explained that due to the potential impact on the owners and the users of the popular music app, the government won’t immediately ban the app.

“I don’t think we’re in a position to declare the dangers outweigh the benefits. It’s a bit premature. We should work out a program where we have a policy that is evidence-based to assess whether the risks are more prominent than the benefits,” said Kindiki.

“It will be premature. What we’re doing right now is a procedural requirement by law. Whatever the measures the government will take is administrative action and there’s a procedure including listening to those affected.” Kindiki added.

However, the CS added that the company whose ownership has been traced to China should comply with the regulations under the Data Protection Act. Kindiki brought to light that they have reached out to the company to find out how compliant it is and to also find out how safe the user data is. “We have contacted TikTok and raised concerns relating to its processing activities. In particular, the office seeks to ascertain the level of compliance of TikTok with the Data Protection Act,” the CS said.

Last year Bob Ndolo, CEO of the digital consulting firm Bridget Connect Consultancy filed a petition before the national assembly committee seeking to have TikTok banned in Kenya. According to Ndolo the communications authority of Kenya has failed to regulate TikTok and this has resulted in the app promoting violence, sexual content, and hate speech among the youth.