Despite warnings from the national cohesion agency to suspend Facebook, the Kenyan government won’t do so.

Prior to next month’s elections, the National Integration and Cohesion Commission (NCIC) said last week that it had written to Meta, the corporation that owns Facebook, asking for a response to claims of lax controls in content moderation on its platform.

If the corporation did not abide by the directive to stop the propagation of hate speech throughout the nation within seven days, it faced the possibility of having its operations suspended. The NCIC’s legal justification for suggesting that Facebook be suspended was called into doubt by the ICT minister.

What they are saying
Separately, Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i stated that the Kenyan government does not want to impose restrictions on social media and disassociated itself from the NCIC statement.

“We as a government, have no intention of infringing on that right. Those who have expressed their opinions on the shutdown of social media have done it in a personal capacity”, he said.

“Given that they lack the authority to censor anyone, they (NCIC) ought to have held extensive consultations. No one is licensed by them, “The Reuters news agency quotes Joe Mucheru.

The Controversy
According to a study released last week by the advocacy organizations Global Witness and Foxglove, Facebook had authorized advertisements encouraging hate speech and incitement before the elections. Facebook’s response was that it had improved controls on its platforms to make it simple to find and delete content that might incite violence during elections.

Despite their best efforts, “there will be examples of stuff we miss or we take down in error, as both algorithms and people make mistakes,” the organization admitted.

A Meta representative added, “We have teams actively monitoring the issue and fixing these errors as rapidly as we can.

Four years ago, executives at the now-defunct British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica were allegedly seen bragging on camera about their influence over Kenya’s contested 2017 presidential election. Their company was then charged with using Facebook data mining to aid President Uhuru Kenyatta in his victory.

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