Communications Authority of Kenya Promises Not to Shut Down Internet During the Election

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Kenya is about to choose new leaders next week and we are a time when a considerable amount of the conversation will be happening on the Internet.

According to the latest statistics from the Communications Authority of Kenya, the country has 40.5 million Internet users which is a huge percentage of the population. People will air out their opinions about the various leaders that have come forward to be chosen and there will be articles and media about them that will be shared on social media sites.

However there is an emerging problem: Social media sites can be used by people to spread false information, which is bad for both the accused and for the electorate on the ground and the Kenyan government is particularly keen on curtailing such practices.

A way of curtailing the spread of false information on the Internet is by shutting it down during the elections. This could mean we would have to rely on VPNs to connect to the Internet so that we can keep up with what is happening around the country in networks like Twitter which actually gave us our own dedicated hashtags for the elections.

Well, the Communications Authority of Kenya seems to have confirmed that they won’t shut down the Internet via a tweet from their official account.

Although that is good to hear, there is a disclaimer, where the authority stated that those sites that will be spreading hate speech or fake news will be shut down.

The authority has also urged people to use social media “responsibly” in a public notice they shared on their account. “I wish to remind members of the public non the need for responsible use of the social media and to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Authority and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission on the prevention of dissemination of undesirable bulk and premium rate political messages and political media content via electronic networks.”

This comes after a time the Communications Authority was reported to have spent around KES 600 million on a social media monitoring system which was part of their preparation for the events surrounding the election.

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