The National Cohesion and Integration Committee (NCIC) has now threatened to have Meta Inc’s Facebook suspended in Kenya for its apparent lack of adherence to the hate speech regulations spelt out by the Government body.
Speaking to the press on Friday morning, NCIC Commissioner Danvas Makori lamented what he said was Facebook’s failure to follow through with the regulations suggested by the anti-hate speech body.
He also cited it’s reported refusal to have peace messages published by NCIC to be hosted on the social networking platform.
Mr. Makori, who was speaking at an event titled ‘Hate Speech on Facebook In Kenya,’ said attempts by the commission to publish and push peace messages on Facebook have been suppressed and that the social media platform has been allowing hate speech to be freely spread across the networking site.
“We have written to Facebook and requested that they comply with the regulatory requirements we put across. If Facebook fails to do that, we will recommend that Facebook services be suspended in Kenya. Facebook has seven days to reply to us, failure to which we take the action of suspension immediately,” he said.
“We are a Government agency. We have been trying to push peace messages on Facebook but Facebook has been suppressing them. We have been unable to fight hate speech online because Facebook has refused to allow us to publish these messages.”
He added: “We cannot even sponsor posts, we are unable to boost our posts yet Facebook has continuously allowed hate speech to be spread across the platform. The only way to fight hate speech is by introducing peace messages yet we cannot do that despite the fact that we are a Government agency that is clearly spreading authorised messages and not propaganda.”
Mr. Makori further said that Kenya was bigger than any politician and any multinational corporation, adding that suspending Facebook in Kenya would be a measure the NCIC would not hesitate to take for the sake of the country and the peace of the nation.
In April this year, the Commission’s Chairperson Samuel Kobia noted that Facebook was leading in cases of hate speech and inflammatory content in Kenya.
“The social media platforms we monitored include Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube among others. The highest number we identified to be spreading hate/incitement was Facebook followed by Twitter,” he said.
“In the last week of March, we had Facebook having 80 per cent of all flagged cases while on Twitter there were 20 per cent. This trend has been the same for the whole month of March.”