Why Kenyans could soon be paying license fee for Facebook, WhatsApp groups


Why Kenyans could soon be paying license fee for Facebook, WhatsApp groups
FILE PHOTO - Photo shows WhatsApp and Facebook app icons on a smartphone. PHOTO | VOA

Kenyans could find themselves paying for WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms if a proposal by a Member of Parliament is passed.

The Bill sponsored by Malava MP Moses Injendi is seeking to have administrators of WhatsApp and Facebook groups be compelled to acquire licenses from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

“The Commission may on application in a prescribed manner and upon payment of a prescribed fee, grant a license authorising any person to establish a social media platform for purposes of communication,” it reads.

If approved, the proposed law will also require that WhatsApp group administrators approve members and content using legal documents.

The administrator of a WhatsApp group will further be expected to keep all the data of the users of the platform and submit the same to the authorities when required.

He or she will also have to ensure that members of the WhatsApp group are of ‘age of majority.’

“Any person who contravenes the provision of this section shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh. 200,000 or to an imprisonment of a term not exceeding one year,” the Bill reads.

It also tackles use of social media where Kenyans may now be faced with Ksh.500,000 fine or two-year jail term for posting degrading or intimidating content online.

Content that is prejudicial against race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, political affiliation, language, ability or appearance will also be flagged.

Further, posting information on social media that is deemed to be unfair, inaccurate and biased as per a court of law will also pose a risk of jail term or fine.

If the Bill is passed, Kenyans on social media platforms such as Facebook will have notify the authorities when they want to create groups.

Administrators of such groups will also have to approve the members and content based on the law.

“Any person who contravenes the provision of this section commits an offense and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Ksh. 200,000 or to an imprisonment of a term not exceeding one year,” the Bill reads.

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