KFCB: TikTok Explicit Live Streamers to be Banned, Devices Blacklisted

KFCB: TikTok Explicit Livestreams to be Banned, Devices Blacklisted

Public concerns on TikTok live streams have led the Kenya government to demand TikTok to disable the live feature. Speaking to Citizen TV, the Acting. CEO, of Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) Mr. Joel Wamalwa said:

“What we have discussed with TikTok, is that one, the Live feature be disabled until they ascertain all the credentials that are originating from Kenya.”

What is not clear is exactly what he meant by all the “credentials originating from Kenya”. However, from his follow-up statement, it is clear this is not an outright ban on live streaming via the platform.

Mr. Wamalwa stated that KFCB had actively engaged with TikTok. During, their discussions they focused on late-night live streams that are said to be explicit. Kenyans on TikTok are familiar with live streams that are highly sexualized.

Due to these explicit live streams, TikTok has accepted it will tailor algorithms to put particular focus on Kenyan live streams at night. KFCB stated that all livestreams should follow community guidelines as set by the classification board as well as those set by TikTok.

Henceforth, any livestream that does not meet the community guidelines will be taken down within one minute. Furthermore, the account in violation of the guidelines will be disabled permanently.

In fact, the stringent measures will go deeper. KFCB is seeking to ban not just the account but the device used to stream. “We have pushed further, that the IMEI that’s running that particular live feature should have that account disabled from running on that particular platform.”: added Mr. Wamalwa.

Kenyans earn money from TikTok livestreams. Thus, a blanket ban on TikTok live streams will threaten livelihoods.

TikTok to Blacklist Devices

KFCB intends to stop users from creating new accounts on the same device.  Having a device eg, a mobile phone blacklisted means a live streamer must acquire another one. As the cost of acquiring a new smart device may be a barrier, the board hopes this will discourage lewd streamers. Effectively, the hope is the move will encourage clean livestreams that follow the community guidelines.

In addition, Mr Wamalwa noted the danger of minors accessing the livestreams. This may expose minors to the many risks associated with the internet.

the danger is it could be a minor who accessed such a feature because many parents have issued gadgets to their teenagers so they may be accessing the live feature and doing the live streams behind the parent’s back”: stated the acting CEO.

Unlike other platforms, TikTok’s current guidelines do not prevent minors from being part of live streams.

KFCB Community Guidelines

The acting CEO pointed out that he discussed three aspects with TikTok. These are: Content monetization, Content moderation, and Classification of content.

He noted that Kenyan has content classification guidelines and this must be met by all content creators. Hence, the Kenyan content classification must form part of TikTok community guidelines. By “credentials originating from Kenya” , the CEO may have meant Content guidelines set by the Kenyan board.

It is these community guidelines that TikTok will use in its moderation of Kenyan content. Going forward, Kenyan Content creators must ensure their content aligns with KFCB guidelines before uploading.

KFCB and TikTok have agreed on a “system calibration”. This means in Kenya, TikTok will establish a multiple-step process for content creators to self-regulate. Hence, while uploading any content, a creator will tick through the steps to ensure they adhere to KFCB community guidelines.

In addition, TikTok will enhance its algorithm to pick out content that violates community guidelines before it goes live. Content that fails the test will not be displayed on the platform. It is important to note that TikTok already has a strict policy against sexual content. However, KFCB feels the need to add more regulations for Kenyans.

Taxes to Level Playing Field

KFCB acknowledges that paid content creators are taking away advertisement revenue from traditional media. Content creators are under the employ of brands for promotional purposes. Presently, content creators make money as brand ambassadors. This has seen a number of brands ditch traditional media in favour of digital content creators.

The acknowledgment is no surprise as the Kenyan government has officially begun taxing content creators.  Mr. Wamalwa said the move is to ensure a level playing field between traditional media and digital creators.

In addition, Mr. Wamalwa pointed out the government is looking to ensure revenue created in Kenya is not shipped out. Lastly, he was keen to point out, this is not a move to deny Kenyans access to information. TikTok has been a source of news for many digital native Kenyans and content restrictions may leave some Kenyans alienated.

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