Nominated Senator Iman Falhada Dekow wants the government to come up with laws to regulate the usage and presence of the Chinese social media app TikTok.
Senator Falhada, speaking at the Senate on Thursday 17th, accused the social media platform of collecting user data, location, phone number and other private information. She also added that the application has created a culture of violence, hate speech and exchange of sexually explicit content.
“The application has created a culture of violence, hate speech, bullying and exchange of sexually explicit content which in some cases are part of the trending topics with millions of posts. This has raised ethical concerns about the app and has contributed negatively to Kenyan society especially during COVID-19 pandemic era when schools have remained closed,” she said.
The Senator was seconded by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei who said that the platform was not only popular with the young people but the internet at large which includes older people. Her fellow nominated Senator, Isaac Mwaura while agreeing to the regulation, felt that it was unfair to single out TikTok. His position was that all social media platforms should be regulated.
“Sio haki kusema ni kidude tu kimoja cha nchi fulani ambacho kinatumia data visivyo. wasiangazie tu TikTok waangalie pia Facebook, Twitter, Instagram na WhatsApp,” he added. (It is not fair to say it is only one platform from one specific country is breaching data laws. Let us not just target TikTok but also look into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp.)
He also warned against been pulled into the Apple, Huawei scuffle happening between China and America, that had led to all Huawei devices being banned in the United States, because the Chinese Telco had dominated markets previously controlled by the US. The app is already under investigation over privacy concerns by U.S. and the European Union over the app’s security and privacy, with fear that user data is being shared with the Chinese Government.
TikTok was founded in 2012 as a video-sharing social networking service. The app is used to create short music, lip-sync, dance, comedy and talent videos of 3 to 15 seconds, and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. It was launched for the Chinese market in September 2016 but later in 2017, was launched for iOS and Android markets outside China.