TikTok, Telegram banned in Somalia Effective August 24th

The government of Somalia has announced it is banning TikTok, Telegram and 1XBet an online betting platform. Internet service providers have been told to disable access to these services by August 24th 11:30pm. Failure to do so, according to the statement, will lead to unspecified legal action.

The government says it is taking the significant step in its ongoing battle against terrorism. The decision, announced on Sunday by the Ministry of Communications and Technology, cited the use of these platforms by “terrorists” to spread propaganda and misinformation.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Communications and Technology, the minister highlighted the crucial role of the banned platforms in the propagation of extremist content: “In a bid to accelerate the war and elimination of the terrorists who have shed the blood of Somali people, the minister of communication and technology instructs companies that provide internet services to suspend TikTok, Telegram and 1XBET betting applications, which terrorists and groups responsible for spreading immorality use to spread graphic clips, photos and mislead society.”

In Kenya, right now there’s also conversation around the potential ban of TikTok. The Kenyan National Assembly is reviewing a petition submitted by one Bob Ndolo, who asserts that the platform’s unregulated content is inciting violence, hate speech, and explicit material among the youth. The potential ban has garnered mixed responses from the public. Although the assembly acknowledges TikTok’s significance to young people, a total ban might be challenging due to the app’s socioeconomic impact.

Ndolo’s petition highlights concerns about TikTok’s unregulated content and its potential negative effects on academic performance and mental health in Kenya’s youth. He also cites the platform’s data privacy issues and the ongoing scrutiny faced by the company in the US. Reactions in Kenya are divided, with some supporting the ban due to explicit content concerns, while others criticize the effort, suggesting a focus on more pressing matters like economic recovery and corruption.

But would a ban make any sense? Users will easily circumvent restrictions by using VPNs. Instead, calling on TikTok for proper moderation of content makes more sense, both in Kenya and Somalia.

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