Social media administrators could soon be required to obtain licenses before setting up groups. A bill sponsored by Malava MP Malulu Injendi proposes that Facebook and Whatsapp group administrators be jailed for allowing users to publish offensive content.
The administrators will be required to obtain permission from the CA to set up groups on social media, and control the discussions therein.
“A social media user shall ensure that any content published, written or shared through the social media platform does not degrade or intimidate a recipient of the content.” The bill states.
Failure to control the inflow of content and allowing publishing of any content deemed offensive shall attract repercussions.
“Any person who contravenes the provision of this section commits an offense and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh200,000 or to an imprisonment of a term not exceeding one year.” the bill reads.
This means that Facebook and Whatsapp admins will be required to tighten the noose on discussions in the groups, and kick out members who publish offensive content. They will also be required to monitor their members and ensure that minors are not admitted into the groups.
The bill also proposes that bloggers obtain a permit from the Communications Authority (CA) to operate. Bloggers, who are described as persons involved in “collecting, writing, editing and presenting of news or news articles on social media platforms or in the internet” will be required to register with the CA. They will be listed in the regulator’s Bloggers’ registry which will be subject to a Bloggers’ code of conduct, the bill proposes.
Those found in contravention of the requirements will be liable to a jail term of up to two years or a fine not exceeding Sh500,000.
“The new part will introduce new sections to the Act on licensing of social media platforms, sharing of information by a licensed person, creates obligations to social media users, registration of bloggers and seeks to give responsibility to CA to develop a Bloggers’ code of conduct in consultation with the bloggers.”