By Ebi Kesiena
TikTok and the Government of Kenya have reached an agreement for the social media platform to moderate content on its app in Kenya.
Kenya’s Presidency stated this on Thursday, days after Parliament received a petition to ban the popular video-sharing platform.
TikTok, owned by Chinese technology giant ByteDance, is facing intense scrutiny across the world due to privacy and security concerns.
According to President William Ruto’s office in a statement after a call with TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew, “Short-form video hosting service TikTok will work with Kenya in reviewing and monitoring its content.”
“This new development means that inappropriate or offensive content will be expunged from the platform,” it added.
Ruto also said on social media that Chew had agreed to set up an office in Kenya to “coordinate” TikTok’s operation in Africa.
No further details were given on the arrangement or when the Kenyan office would begin operations.
Currently, no African country can earn money directly from the platform, only through influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, or the marketing of their goods and services.
Ruto said he had previously interacted with social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter concerning monetisation strategies. However, it remains unclear if those conversations influenced the decisions of YouTube and Facebook to enable monetisation in Kenya.
Thursday’s announcement comes barely 10 days after Kenyan legislators received a petition from a private citizen demanding that TikTok be banned in the East African country for promoting obscenity.
“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, and hate speech,” Parliament speaker Moses Wetangula said at the time.
Parliament is due to investigate the use of TikTok in Kenya, and a decision is expected in about two months.
TikTok is popular, especially with younger audiences, and has over one billion users. It has come under fierce Western scrutiny over its ties to China, but the company denies it is under Beijing’s tutelage.
Meanwhile, Somalia’s government has announced it was banning the platform for being used by terrorists to spread propaganda.