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Somalia Bans TikTok, Telegram, and 1XBet Over Indecent Content, Terrorism, and Misinformation



Somalia’s government has taken the decision to prohibit the use of TikTok, the messaging platform Telegram, and the online betting site 1XBet. According to a statement from the Minister of Communications, Jama Hassan Khalif, the rationale behind this ban is to curtail the proliferation of inappropriate content and propaganda through these internet services.

This recent development underscores the ongoing global apprehension among governments regarding the activities of various social media applications.

Tackling misinformation 

While noting that the ban became necessary in the country to tackle misinformation, the statement read:  

  • “The minister of communications orders internet companies to stop the aforementioned applications, which terrorists and immoral groups use to spread constant horrific images and misinformation to the public.”  

The decision comes days after Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said a military offensive against al Shabaab aims to eliminate the al Qaeda-linked group in the next five months.

Members of the insurgent group al Shabaab often post about their activities on TikTok and Telegram. 

The order gave internet service providers until Aug. 24 to comply. 1XBet is popular in Somalia for betting, especially on soccer matches. 

TikTok faces ban across countries 

Globally, the social media app owned by a Chinese company, Bytedance has come under serious criticism leading to its ban in several countries.  TikTok has been threatened with bans in the United States over its alleged ties to the Chinese government and the state of Montana became the first to ban the app in May. 

India banned the platform in mid-2020, costing ByteDance one of its biggest markets, as the government cracked down on 59 Chinese-owned apps, claiming that they were secretly transmitting users’ data to servers outside India. 

Other countries and government bodies, including Britain and its Parliament, Australia, Canada, the executive arm of the European Union, France, and New Zealand’s Parliament, have banned the app from official devices. 

In Kenya, the country’s National Assembly last week, said it has received a petition to ban the app in the country.  

The petition submitted by the CEO of digital consulting firm Bridget Connect Consultancy, Bob Ndolo,  stated that the country’s Communications Authority has failed to regulate the social media platform, which he claims is promoting violence, explicit sexual content, hate speech, and offensive behaviour among the youth.

The news has been received with mixed reactions from Kenyans.  

The assembly is considering the petition but has suggested that a complete ban may be impossible due to the growing socioeconomic significance of the platform among young people.