Social media sites to delete hate mongers’ accounts in a day

Saturday July 15 2017

Social media sites will be required to pull down accounts propagating hate speech within a day of being notified by the government, according to newly published guidelines.

The Communications Authority (CA) Friday published guidelines to prevent the spread of “undesirable political messages” via mobile phones and social media.

Kenyans using social media to disseminate political content have been warned against using language that amounts to hate speech, ethnic contempt, incitement to violence, harassment, or defamation.

Administrators of social media platforms are required to moderate conversations and steer them from dangerous waters. 

However, if messages fit into the State’s definition of “undesirable” content, sites will be required to take action.

READ: MBUTHIA: Personal data security just got more complex


Pull down accounts

“Social media service providers shall be required to pull down accounts used in disseminating undesirable political contents on their platform that have (sic) brought to their attention within 24 hours,” say the guidelines.

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter already have their own guidelines for weeding harmful and hateful content.

These guidelines do not always match with the wishes of the State, as was seen last year when the Kenya Film Classification Board tussled with YouTube over a video.
Those posting political content on social media will also be required to state any allegiances to politicians and ensure that it is truthful.

If unsure whether it is inflammatory, those posting are supposed to cool their heels for 24 hours as they seek approval from the National Cohesion and Integration Commission.

The CA amended the rules from the draft first proposed in June getting rid of clauses that would have required Kenyans to be “polite” and “civilised” on social media.

The guidelines also cover the spread of political content via SMS warning parties against disseminating hate speech.

READ: ODHIAMBO: Kenyan media must restore order on online platforms