Social networking sites have inbuilt tools to manage interactions. Block and mute tools are standard and are used to limit interactions of people who are a bother to you.
Although these tools are important, they become weird when they are used by public entities. It is not unusual to see a government entity or a government official block someone due to some reason. There has been debate as to whether that should be allowed and it seems that rolling stone won’t gather any moss.
According to the Standard, state officials and entities that block Kenyans on social media ae breaking the law and risk being fined up to 1 million or imprisoned for 3 years or both.
“The various institutions use social media to publish and share public information hence no user should be blocked for asking questions,” The Office of the Ombudsman said.
The Office of the Ombudsman is a Constitutional Commission established under the constitution that has the mandate to investigate any conduct in state affairs.
Blocking Kenyans is a violation of the Access to Information Act 2016 since it denies citizens right to access public information.
We have seen people complain about government institutions blocking them on social media sites like Twitter. Some people have been blocked by the Deputy President and others have been blocked by Cabinet Secretaries on Twitter.
Apparently according to the Ombudsman, in cases where users were blocked due to abusive language at the accounts, the institution should revert to other laws to handle the cases.
This puts public officials in a spot where they have to find other ways to deal with social media users who resort to abusive language when communicating with these accounts.