Kenyan ministers say the government has no intention of banning Facebook despite a watchdog in the country accusing the social media platform of failing to stop hate speech ahead of August 9 elections. Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) gave Facebook one week to comply with regulations against ethnic hate speech or risk suspension. The threat came after a report by rights group Global Witness said Facebook approved hate speech advertisements that promoted ethnic violence ahead of the election.
Voice of America reports that Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has accused the NCIC of making “a careless decision” on the matter. Kenya’s Minister of Information and Technology Joe Mucheru told VOA that while the issues raised were valid, they did not warrant blocking Facebook. “That is not within our legal mandate, and we have been working with Facebook and many other platforms,” Muchera said.
The NCIC’s ultimatum came after Global Witness issued a report calling for a suspension of Facebook advertising until the election is concluded. The group said Facebook should take a series of actions similar to the “Break the Glass” measures that the company instituted following the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.