NCIC watching WhatsApp, Facebook groups for hate messages

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Commissioner Abdulaziz Farah in an interview in Diani, Kwale County.

Photo credit: Siago Cece I Nation Media Group

You may want to reconsider posting hate messages on popular social media pages, as the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) says it has deployed its staff to monitor the activities.

The NCIC says it will target administrators and those posting messages likely to spread hate and incitement on apps like WhatsApp and

Facebook which remain fertile grounds for spreading false narratives, particularly before, during and after elections.

Self-regulation is important in the age of the internet, where bullies hide behind their gadgets to spread hate messages, said NCIC commissioner Abdulaziz Farah.

“One of the biggest challenges in our work is social media. A lot of hate speech is happening across the country in all languages and we are working to curb it,” he said.

He spoke during a post-election ‘healing’ forum in Kwale County.

But to tackle the vice, the NCIC has deployed staff in each county to monitor social media platforms where they are also members.

“Very soon, you will see so many cases of hate speech in court because our monitors are part of those WhatsApp and Facebook groups. As people misbehave, they will find themselves in those courts after being arrested,” he said.

Mr Farah also called upon stakeholders in security, county governments and religious groups to help deal with hate speech, saying curbing the vice was a collective responsibility.

“This is not work that the NCIC alone can do, we need all these other institutions to work together, and more importantly the media, who should not give airtime to hate speech,” he added.

The commission also congratulated Kenyans for maintaining peace, saying this was a major milestone for Kenya and urging residents to adopt the same attitude in the coming years.

Kwale Deputy Governor Chirema Kombo raised the alarm over rising hate speech and violence on social media targeting county leaders.

“We have faced a lot of hatred and even false information spread against our Governor Fatuma Achani, and the campaign period proved to be one of the hardest [as all her competitors were men],” he said.

Mr Kombo said this was because Ms Achani had gone against the grain to become a female leader in a society with entrenched traditions, culture and religion “where people believe that women are not allowed to stand in front of men”.

“There are still trolls, threats and hate messages on social media because it is like the other team has not believed that they have lost,” he explained.

Kwale Woman Representative Fatuma Masito urged leaders and residents to focus on development instead of political divisions.

And Matuga Deputy County Commissioner Lucy Ndemo said security agencies would partner with the commission to curb online violence.

“There are better things to put your energy into rather than using it on spreading hate on social media,” Ms Ndemo said.