Speaker of the National Assembly Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Moses Wetangula today read a petition to the house by Mr. Bob Ndolo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Bridge Connect Consultancy regarding the banning of Tiktok in Kenya.
The Petitioner decries that while Tiktok has gained popularity among the youth in Kenya, the content that is being shared on the platform is inappropriate thus promoting violence, explicit sexual content, hate speech, vulgar language and offensive behavior which is a serious threat to the cultural and religious values of Kenya.
He further avers that Tiktok has been implicated in several privacy scandals over the past years. For instance, in 2019, the App was fined $5.7 million by the United States of America Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for illegally collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 by collecting data such as names, email addresses and locations from young users without their parents’ consent thus violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
The Petitioner raised concerns that if the platform is not prohibited in Kenya, the App’s addictive nature would lead to a decline in academic performance and ascend in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and sleep deprivation among the youth.
In his petition, Ndolo asked the house to intervene and take immediate action to safeguard Kenyans from the negative effects arising from the use of platform and altogether ban Tiktok in Kenya.
The leader of Majority Party Hon. Kimani Ichung’wah in his contribution stated that there is no sufficient ground to petition the house to ban the app which many of parliamentarians are subscribers. He noted that although there might be some app misuse by the app the house should not completely ban it but task the relevant committee with coming up with regulations on its use.
“Tiktok and other online platforms have created an opportunity for our youths to create content and earn a living thus resolving the challenges of unemployment,” He said.
His sentiments were echoed by Minority Leader Hon. Opiyo Wandayi who asked the petitioner to further look into the matter and analyze the positive impacts of the app vis-à-vis the negatives and appreciate the employment opportunities it creates to young people.