Meta’s Facebook may face suspension in Kenya as it fails another hate speech detection test

Kenya’s ethnic cohesion watchdog has given Meta’s Facebook seven days to address hate speech and incitement on the platform related to next month’s elections, or else its activity will be shut down. suspended.

East Africa’s largest economy is in the process of campaigning ahead of presidential, legislative and local government elections on August 9.

Advocacy group Global Witness said in a report released on Thursday that Facebook accepted and carried out more than a dozen political advertisements in violation of Kenyan rules.

The Kenya National Integration and Integration Commission (NCIC) said the report corroborates its own internal findings.

“Facebook is breaking the laws of our country,” said Danvas Makori, a commissioner of the NCIC. “They have allowed themselves to become a mediator of hate speech and incitement, misinformation and transgression. sculpt”.

Meta A company spokesman told Reuters it had taken “extensive steps” to remove hate speech and incitement, and it was ramping up those efforts ahead of the election.

“We have an expert team of Swahili speakers and proactive detection technology to help us remove harmful content quickly and at scale,” the spokesperson said.

The NCIC has held talks with the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), the regulator of social media companies, and will recommend the suspension of Meta’s operations, Makori said.

He accused Meta of violating Kenya’s constitution and laws governing hate speech and the use of social media platforms.

“This country is bigger than a social media company or an organization. We will not allow Facebook, or any other social media company, to jeopardize security,” he said.

Supporters of top presidential candidates, veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga and vice president William Ruto, have used social media platforms to praise their candidates, preaching persuade others to join them or accuse opposing sides of various wrongdoing.

The NCIC is a statutory body created to promote ethnic harmony among Kenya’s 45 tribes, some of which have targeted each other in violence in previous polls.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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