The Senate has plans to toughen the laws to regulate social media.
All countries are often trying to regulate social media, both celebrities and politicians often try to see how they can control the content that is shared by content creators. While social media can be positive it can also cause a lot of havoc especially in content that promotes sex, hate speech or anything else that someone is truly passionate about.
Kenyan politicians have landed in hot soup a couple of times especially when nudes are leaked or when content creators create uncomfortable conversations about certain people. This is why the senate is trying to see how they can regulate social media by taxing foreigners and international firms operating social media platforms in Kenya.
So what exactly is the problem?
The senators proposed their new bill in hopes that the new guidelines would protect children and other users from cyberbullies.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said:
“Let us as a House and country stand up and protect, especially our growing children. Even adults who are responsible must be brought to order,”
Politicians have found themselves on the wrong side of social media especially when explicit photographic evidence is usually shared however now their main concern seems to be children who they now claim are soft targets for bullies.
Terming unfettered social media a menace that will tear the social fabric if not checked, legislators said children have become soft targets for bullies. The bullies were described as corrupt morals whose main intention is to spread hate and indoctrinate the youth.
Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot said:
“This is something that will bother anyone, parent or leader who is concerned about the welfare of our society. It is a menace that if we do not take care as a society, then it can cause chaos and so much trouble,”
Where did the proposal come from?
Nominated Senator Falhada Iman issued a personal statement that generally discussed the effects of online harassment among Kenyans this included name-calling, impersonation and purposeful embarrassment.
“The prevalence of online harassment among Kenyans is high with 33 per cent of social media users in Kenya having personally had a negative online experience. These include abusive behaviour, offensive name-calling, impersonation or purposeful embarrassment,”
“Severe forms of cyber harassment can have serious consequences on the lives of the victims. Some 21.1 per cent of Kenyans have experienced the more severe forms of online harassment,”
Kenyans are a tough crowd to regulate so we wonder if the push to amend the law will work, if this is implemented it means the Cyber Security Act will be amended and they’ll have to have a good strategy to actually ensure that keyboard warriors stop their habits.
“I urge her to do further research and come up with good proposals to amend the Cyber Security Act so we are able to put a stop to all these vices,” Cheruiyot said.
Additionally, they also added that they should generate revenue from these platforms.
“We can generate revenue from the videos that young people are doing on Tik Tok, Twitter and posts on Facebook. These end up creating revenue for these companies that do not pay a single tax in this Republic,” he added.
The sudden fear from the politicians is also a move to stop the spread of violence ahead of the 2022 General Elections.
“We have seen cyberbullies bullying judges and literally everybody in the course of their duty. We have people out there who spend their time and energy on nothing but bullying my concern is that other than pornography, somebody somewhere is going to use the internet to spread hatred during the 2022 General Elections”
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr also had something to say:
“It can cause mayhem in this country if we do not monitor the use of the internet,” Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said.
According to a 2020 Kenyan social media landscape report, the most prevalent social media platforms were WhatsApp 89 per cent, Facebook 81.7 per cent and YouTube 51.6 per cent. Other platforms increasingly favoured by young Kenyan adults are Tik Tok 8.8 per cent, Telegram 15.5 per cent and Facebook Messenger 37.4 per cent.