No intention to shut down Facebook, Kenya ministers say after Watchdog’s final word on hate speech

Kenya has no intention of shutting down Facebook, which is owned by Meta, its ICT minister said Monday after the national cohesion watchdog gave the platform seven days to comply with regulations. hate speech or face suspension.

The National Association and Integration Commission (NCIC) on friday accused Facebook violated Kenya’s constitution and laws by failing to address hate speech and incitement on the forum ahead of the August 9 national election.

“We have no plans to shut down any of these platforms,” ​​Joe Mucheru, Minister of Information, Communications and Technology, told Reuters. “Press freedom is something we cherish, whether it’s (traditional) media or social media.”

His statement echoed that of the Home Secretary, Fred Matiangi, who accused the NCIC of making messy decisions over the weekend and vowed the platform would not shut down.

“They (NCIC) should have consulted widely because they don’t have the power to shut anyone down. They don’t license anyone,” Mucheru said.

In issuing the ultimatum, the NCIC said it was consulting with the Kenya Media Authority, the industry regulator, adding that it would recommend suspending Facebook operations if Facebook does not follow.

Meta has taken “extensive steps” to remove hate speech and inflammatory content, and it is ramping up those efforts ahead of the election, a company spokesman told Reuters.

Mucheru agreed, adding that the platform removed 37,000 posts related to hate speech during the voting period.

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.

Some of Kenya’s 45 tribes have targeted each other in violence in previous polls, but Mucheru said this election was different and the country was enjoying peace and calm despite the political activism. increased value.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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