TikTok in China spreads fears of ethnic violence in Kenyan elections

Videos posted on the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok in Kenya in recent weeks reportedly showcased “hatred, incitement and other political misinformation” that could spark ethnic violence ahead of Kenya’s 2022 presidential election in August, Al Jazeera reported on Friday.

“As Kenya’s general elections draw closer, a growing number of TikTok videos featuring ‘hate, incitement and other political misinformation’ have increased, according to a recent study by the Mozilla Foundation,” Al Jazeera reported on Monday. June 10.

“In a report released Wednesday [June 8]Mozilla colleague Odanga Madung identified 130 TikTok videos that pushed “widespread misinformation” and fueled “violent and ethnically discriminatory narratives”, relayed the Qatari media.

The Mozilla Foundation is a US-based nonprofit organization that advocates for transparency and accountability on the internet, according to its website. TikTok is a Chinese video sharing platform. The Chinese government, in August 2021, acquired a stake in a domestic subsidiary of ByteDance, which is a Chinese company that owns TikTok.

TikTok’s alleged hosting of videos deemed politically and ethnically sensitive by the Mozilla Foundation included the following examples, according to Al Jazeera:

The report pointed out that the collection of 130 videos from 33 accounts violated TikTok’s policies on hate speech, discrimination, incitement and inauthenticity. […]

[T]The report mentioned how a video clip showed Vice President and frontrunner William Ruto delivering a speech at a rally. He captioned the speech as follows: “Ruto hates the Kikuyus and wants revenge by 2022.”

The report mentions that the video has been widely circulated, receiving more than 445,000 views on TikTok.

Odanga Madung, a member of the Mozilla Foundation, who authored the June 8 report, said a TikTok spokesperson responded to the analysis and “deleted several videos and suspended accounts from its platform that did not ‘did not comply with its guidelines on hate speech and incitement,’ according to Al Jazeera.

Madung acknowledged in a statement released with his June 8 report that Kenya had a “marred history of post-election violence.” He further stated in the report that he had “conversations with TikTok whistleblower Gadear Ayed, who was a former moderator on the platform, [that] also revealed his “deep ignorance of the Kenyan political context” which he believes could explain how such videos went undetected,” Al Jazeera reported.

TikTok is a globally popular video-sharing platform that was downloaded by 656 million people in 2021. The smartphone app has proven extremely successful in Kenya, which has seen the world’s highest TikTok downloads in first quarter of 2022, according to Kenya. People’s Daily newspaper.

Kenya’s ties with China extend beyond TikTok, as Nairobi is a member of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI backs infrastructure projects in developing or low-income countries through a China-controlled lending structure that often pushes struggling countries into deeper debt, critics of the program say. Observers further accuse Beijing of strategically using the BRI to promote the influence of the ruling Chinese Communist Party around the world.

#TikTok #China #spreads #fears #ethnic #violence #Kenyan #elections

Post expires at 6:11am on Friday June 24th, 2022