Kenyan government recommends regulating, not banning, TikTok

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows TikTok logo

By Duncan Miriri

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's government has advised lawmakers against banning TikTok over concerns about content shared on the platform, and instead recommended stricter oversight by regulators.

A panel in parliament has been considering a petition from a Kenyan citizen to ban the Chinese-owned platform. The recommendation follows accusations from the interior ministry that the platform has been used to spread propaganda, carry out fraud and distribute sexual content.

"Rather than imposing a ban on TikTok, the ministry proposes adoption of a co-regulation model," the information and communication ministry said in an advisory to the panel, which was shared with Reuters on Thursday.

The ministry proposed requiring TikTok to screen content to ensure compliance with Kenyan laws and file quarterly reports to the government on what material it had taken down.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In response to similar criticism in other countries, it has defended its record on user privacy.

The company has been facing regulatory scrutiny in a number of countries, particularly in the West.

Last month, Italy slapped three TikTok units with fines for inadequate checks on content deemed potentially harmful to children or vulnerable users.

The U.S. Senate approved legislation on Tuesday that would ban TikTok in the United States if ByteDance fails to divest over the next nine months to a year.

The move was driven by widespread worries among U.S. lawmakers that China could access Americans' data or surveil them with the app.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Aaron Ross and Alex Richardson)