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Kenya demands TikTok to demonstrate company is complying with privacy laws

TikTok app logo is shown in this image shot, August 22, 2022

NAIROBI, March 21 (mod1s) - Kenya has asked that TikTok demonstrate it is obeying to local privacy and user verification regulations, the interior ministry said on Thursday, alleging the network has been used to propagate misinformation, carry out fraud and transmit sexual material. 

TikTok and other social media businesses are under pressure from governments across the globe to safeguard users from dangerous material and criminals who take advantage of the networks.

"The government, through the office of the Data Protection Commissioner, has contacted TikTok and raised concerns relating to its processing activities," Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki told a parliamentary committee. 

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese business ByteDance, did not reply quickly to a request for comment. In response to similar criticism in other nations, it has defended its record on user privacy.

Kindiki claimed the site has been used by criminals "to spread malicious propaganda, steal popular accounts through identity theft and impersonation" and to "conduct fraud by duping Kenyans into fake forex trades and fake job recruitments". 

"These risks have caused distress among users, exposed minors to inappropriate content and promoted discord among citizens," he added. 

Odanga Madung, a researcher at the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, said the issues identified by Kindiki were pervasive across social media sites.

"TikTok will get the attention but the problem will not stop there," Madung told Reuters. "The government of Kenya is right to demand some transparency in regard to how TikTok carries out moderation." 

Last Monday, Italy's competition authority punished three divisions of TikTok 10 million euros ($10.91 million) in total for insufficient screening on information potentially detrimental to young or vulnerable users. 

The firm also risks a ban in the United States unless its Chinese owners sell within approximately six months, under the conditions of a draft bill authorized by the U.S. House of Representatives.

($1 = 0.9166 euros)


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