What you need to know:
- Mr Bob Ndolo told MPs that in the meeting with TikTok representatives, he raised concerns on the operations of the app and they agreed to address them.
- He further told the committee chaired by Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai that he also changed tune after receiving many calls from TikTok users.
A petitioner who had called for the ban of TikTok in the country has changed tune and now wants the social media application regulated.
This comes after the petitioner met with TikTok representatives from South Africa.
Appearing before the National Assembly’s Public Petitions committee yesterday, Mr Bob Ndolo told MPs that instead of banning TikTok, they should regulate its use through laws.
He told MPs that in the meeting with TikTok representatives, he raised concerns on the operations of the app and they agreed to address them.
He further told the committee chaired by Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai that he also changed tune after receiving many calls from TikTok users who expressed concern that a total ban would harm them.
“We realised that only a small percentage of TikTok users abuse it and so banning it would have denied many people their livelihoods,” Mr Ndolo said.
He added that he would soon present proposed regulations and penalties for individuals who misuse the platform to post vulgar and obscene content.
Mr Ndolo however denied assertions that he received a call from State House to drop the call on the ban following a meeting between President William Ruto and TikTok’s Chief Executive Officer Shou Zi Chew.
He was responding to a question by Awendo MP Walter Owino who sought to know whether the President’s meeting had influenced the change of heart.
During President Ruto’s virtual meeting with Mr Chew, the CEO committed to ensuring that content is moderated to fit community standards. He also promised to set up a Kenyan office to coordinate its operations in the continent and hire more Kenyans to work for the platform.
Music Copyright Society of Kenya CEO Ezekiel Mutua who is also behind the petition, told MPs that they had wanted to attract attention from the highest office in the land and create a national conversation, which had now been achieved.
“We are now saying don’t ban but create a strong regulatory framework to deter inappropriate content. We are looking at a balance of creation of content and protection of our content,” Dr Mutua said.
In his petition, Mr Ndolo called for a ban on TikTok saying it is contributing to the erosion of cultural and religious morals in the society.