Senator Falhada: TikTok creating ‘culture of violence’, wants it regulated in Kenya


Senator Falhada: TikTok creating 'culture of violence', wants it regulated in Kenya
Nominated Senator Iman Falhada Dekow. Photo/Courtesy

In Summary

  • TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, is already under investigation over privacy concerns by U.S. and the European Union over the app’s security and privacy.
  • Senator Falhada, speaking at the Senate on Thursday, accused the Chinese social media platform of collecting user data, location, phone number and other private information.

Nominated Senator Iman Falhada Dekow now wants the government to come up with policy and legal framework to regulate the usage and presence of giant social media app TikTok.

Senator Falhada, speaking at the Senate on Thursday, accused the Chinese social media platform of collecting user data, location, phone number and other private information.

“There have been serious allegations against the application on the issue of data privacy, the application gathers information on a user’s country location, internet address and type of device if allowed. It will also ascertain the user’s exact location, phone contacts and other social media network connections as well as age and phone number,” she said.

TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, is already under investigation over privacy concerns by U.S. and the European Union over the app’s security and privacy. The main fear expressed by these countries is that user data might be shared with Beijing.

“The question does arise to the safety of the data that Kenyans unknowingly provide to the application regarding themselves,” said Ms Falhada .

“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.”

But her singling out of TikTok did not go down well with her colleagues Isaac Mwaura and Samson Cherargei who, while agreeing that all social media platforms need to be investigated over issues of privacy and data security.

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura said that American social media brands have also been sued across the world over data security breach.

Ukiangalia zile kampuni ambazo zimeweza kuanzishwa kule Amerikani, zenyewe pia zimeshtakiwa katika anga za kimataifa kwa sababu ya kutokua na usiri wa data ambayo wanatoa kutokana na watu wote duniani,” he said.

He also warned against been pulled into the Apple, Huawei fight that is happening between China and America.

Ni vizuri kuangalia vile hii data inatumiwa kwa mambo ya ununuzi katika soko huria, lakini isiwe ni njia nyingine ya vile tumeona vita kati ya iPhone na Huawei,” he said. (It is good to check on how data is utilised but we have also seen how China is blamed because they are dominating markets that were controlled by the West.)

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 right to say it is only one platform from one specific country that is breaching data laws. Let us not just target TikTok but also look into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp.)

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Story By Philip Mwaniki
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