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Kenya orders meta facebook to address hate speech or face suspension


By Duncan Miriri

NAIROBI, Jul 29 (Reuters) – Kenya’s ethnic cohesion watchdog has given Facebook seven days to remove incitement and hate speech on the platform in relation to next month’s elections. and if it does not, its operation will be suspended.

East Africa’s largest economy is in the midst of an electoral campaign ahead of presidential, legislative and municipal elections on August 9.

The human rights group Global Witness said in a report published Thursday that Facebook had accepted and spread more than a dozen political ads that violated Kenyan rules.

The Kenya National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) said the report corroborates its own internal findings.

“Facebook is violating the laws of our country. They have allowed themselves to be a vector for hate speech and incitement, false information and misinformation,” NCIC Commissioner Danvas Makori said Friday.

Meta has taken “extensive measures” to eliminate hate speech and inflammatory content, and is stepping up those efforts ahead of the election, a company spokesman told Reuters.

“We have specialized teams of Swahili speakers and proactive detection technology to help us remove harmful content quickly and on a large scale,” the spokesperson said.

The NCIC has been in talks with the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), which regulates social media companies, and will recommend the suspension of Meta’s operations, Makori said.

He accused Meta of violating the Kenyan Constitution and laws regulating hate speech and the use of social media platforms.

“This country is bigger than one social media company or one entity. We will not allow Facebook, or any other social media company, to compromise security,” he said. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing in Spanish by Vicente Valdivia)

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