ICT CS Joe Mucheru dismissed threats by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to shut down Facebook ahead of the Kenyan August 9 General Election.
NCIC on Friday issued a seven-day ultimatum notice to the social media giant to comply with hate speech prevention guidelines or face suspension in the country.
The ethnic cohesion watchdog was reacting to a report by advocacy group Global Witness, and Foxglove, a legal non-profit firm, which pointed fingers at Facebook for being unable to detect hate speech weeks away from a tight Kenyan election
”Despite the risk of violence around the upcoming Kenyan election, our new investigation finds Facebook appallingly failed to detect hate speech ads in the two official languages of the country: Swahili and English.” the report says.
NCIC noted that from the report, it is very clear that Facebook is in violation of the laws of the country. ”They have allowed themselves to be a vector of hate speech and incitement, misinformation, and disinformation,” NCIC Commissioner Danvas Makori said.’
Mucheru in a tweet posted from his official page on Saturday however notes that NCIC has no legal framework to suspend Facebook.
”Media, including social media, will continue to enjoy PRESS FREEDOM in Kenya. Not clear what legal framework NCIC plans to use to suspend Facebook. Government is on record We are NOT shutting down the Internet” he tweeted.
A week ago, Meta, Facebook’s parent company shared an update on its ongoing work to help ensure a safe and secure General Election in Kenya.
Meta’s investments and work around the Kenya General Elections include removing harmful content to keep users on the platform safe, Protecting female public figures and human rights defenders, and reducing problematic content across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
The company said it’s also combating misinformation and false news as part of its elections work noting that it removes the most serious kinds of misinformation from Facebook and Instagram, such as content that is intended to suppress voting or could contribute to imminent violence or physical harm.
“As our platforms continue to play an important role in civic discussions around the world, including here in Kenya, we know we have an important responsibility, especially during times of elections. Using lessons from the past, and input from a range of experts, including dedicated and local teams within Meta, we’ve made substantial investments to help take aggressive steps in fighting abuse across our platforms, whilst rolling out policies and products to help ensure a safe and secure General Election.” Meta Director of Public Policy East and Horn of Africa Mercy Ndegwa said.