The Kenyan government, represented by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC), has initiated communication with ByteDance Limited, the parent company of TikTok, to verify its adherence to national regulations.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced on Thursday that the ODPC has taken action to evaluate TikTok's compliance with Kenyan laws, particularly regarding privacy protection, age verification, and content filtering.

Kindiki highlighted concerns such as the dissemination of false information, identity theft, financial scams, and the exposure of minors to inappropriate content.

"TikTok platform has been used by criminal elements to spread malicious propaganda, steal popular accounts through identity theft and impersonation, defraud users through fake forex trade and job recruitment, distribution of sexual content and exposure of minors to inappropriate content," Kindiki stated during his appearance before the National Assembly Committee on Petitions.

He emphasized the need for ByteDance Limited to demonstrate its commitment to data protection standards outlined in the Data Protection Act.

While recognizing TikTok's popularity and benefits, Kindiki said Kenya must ensure that it operates within the confines of our laws.

Kindiki also urged a thorough assessment before considering any regulatory action.

The CS cautioned against hastily banning TikTok, emphasizing the importance of weighing its societal advantages against potential risks.

He advocated for an evidence-based approach to decision-making, stressing the need for a comprehensive strategy to address emerging challenges.

"We should work out a program where we have a policy that is evidence-based to assess whether the risks are more prominent than the benefits," he noted.

Kindiki noted the need to strike a balance between safeguarding public interests and fostering innovation in the digital space and the importance of collaborative efforts to mitigate risks associated with online platforms.

The government's engagement with ByteDance Limited underscores its commitment to upholding data protection standards and promoting the responsible use of social media platforms in Kenya.