Facebook Might End Up Being Banned In Kenya Over The Platform’s Inability To Moderate Hate Speech

Facebook is potentially on a path toward getting banned in Kenya over the platform’s incompetent efforts towards tackling hate speech in its community.

Meta and its social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) are…let’s say not the best at moderating online discourse. To some extent, maybe that’s a good thing considering how easily the bar for moderation can tip over into crass censorship. However, these social media platforms are terrible at even keeping the most blatant expressions of hate speech off of the platform. I’ll even take a step further and say that Facebook is a much more gross offender than its sister communities; something about baby boomers rampaging around the website probably contributes to the problem. On one hand, I understand the issue: governing a platform with hundreds of millions of active users isn’t easy. There are bound to be fringe communities and groups that escape oversight.

However, it’s not that difficult to run into the likes of anti-vaxxers or white power groups on Facebook. Also, while we’re on the topic, allow me to be clear: I don’t care how much you as a white person think that Black Lives Matter is racist, or how supporting white power is justified; you’re not utilizing free speech, you’re utilizing privilege to shut down the more disenfranchised. Having the privilege of skin color isn’t a badge of honor, and instead of using it as a soapbox maybe consider growing an actual personality.

Kenya’s had a massive problem with hate speech for quite a while, and much of it has been politically motivated. The country’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) conducted a study on the prevalence of hate speech, went through a massive list of examples, and then decided against publishing anything but hard numbers due to the examples being in poor taste, unnecessarily graphic, or both. For a yardstick measure, however, after the 2007 elections a total of 1,300 individuals were murdered and plenty of others had to flee the country over threats.

Facebook has been a major platform via which hate speech is carried out by radical dissidents in the country; which is surprising because almost every post made by them is both published and widely shared. The posts are often in Swahili but are also made in English as well, making the idea of Facebook allowing posts containing calls to murder and assault an asinine one. Yet, that is what’s happening and the NCIC isn’t happy. Facebook has been given a total of seven days to figure its stance out and deliver tangible results before risking being banned in the country.

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