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Kenya’s President plans to speak with TikTok CEO as debate on the ban of TikTok intensifies

President WIlliam Ruto
  • Kenyan President William Ruto plans to meet TikTok's CEO to discuss content moderation, addressing concerns over cultural and religious standards raised by a petitioner.
  • While a petitioner seeks a total ban on TikTok, Kenyan MPs like Kimani Ichung'wa and Irene Mayaka propose regulating the app's use, emphasizing its role in youth employment and the need for parental supervision.
  • Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi highlights the economic benefits of TikTok, arguing for controlled usage rather than a blanket ban.

Kenya's President William Ruto has weighed in on the country's TikTok dispute, in which a petitioner wants the popular social media app banned on the grounds that it is eroding cultural and religious standards in society.

Speaking at State House Nakuru on Wednesday, Ruto said that he planned to meet with TikTok's CEO on Thursday morning to discuss measures to "moderate content on the platform."

"Tomorrow, I will have a discussion with the CEO of TikTok so that we can agree on modalities of moderating content on the platform, I know we have had issues with TikTok in the recent past, but I promise to resolve the matter," he revealed.

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The discoveries come as a petitioner has asked members of parliament to prohibit the usage of TikTok. Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wa stated that parliament cannot preside over the app's suspension since it has provided employment for the majority of young people.

While the petitioner had reasonable concerns, Ichung'wa said his approach to a blanket prohibition was similar to opposing technology.

"The petitioner should come to seek how to regulate the use of the app, the age group, and the content uploaded for a particular age to view, a total ban would kill the careers of many young people who are earning a living from it," Ichung'wa said last week.

Nominated MP Irene Mayaka stated that prohibiting the use of the app in Kenya would not answer the difficulties identified by the petitioner, stating that one may still watch material in apps available in other countries using programs such as the Virtual Private Network (VPN).

She instead asked parents to keep an eye on what their children are doing on social media.

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Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi agreed with Ichung'wah, saying the app should be controlled because it generates cash and revenue for the government. "I believe that in this digital age, we as a country cannot afford to live in isolation or operate from an island, so it is foolhardy to consider banning another app," he said.

"These platforms provide opportunities for our youth to find employment, especially for those who are able to create content," he added.

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