African nation bans TikTok and Telegram
The Somali government has banned TikTok, Telegram, and the online gambling site 1xBet over security and terrorism concerns, ordering internet service providers on Sunday to disable access to the platforms.
Minister of Communications Jama Hassan Khalif said in a statement on Sunday that “terrorists and immoral groups” are using social media applications to “spread constant horrific images and misinformation to the public.”
“You are being ordered to shut down the applications mentioned above by Thursday, August 24, 2023,” Khalif said, adding that “anyone who does not follow this order will face clear and appropriate legal measures.”
Al-Shabaab, a jihadist militant organization, has waged an insurgency against Somalia’s central government for nearly two decades.
According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED), 3,850 people were killed in Somalia as a result of al-Shabaab violence between August and December 2022.
The armed group is said to use Telegram and TikTok on a regular basis to communicate their activities, which include the publication of videos, press releases, and audio interviews with their commanders.
Mogadishu’s Communications Ministry said “bad practices” promoted by terrorist groups on social media sites pose a threat to the country’s safety and stability, adding that it is working to protect the moral conduct of Somalians.
Last October, the Somali government ordered the suspension of more than 40 social media pages that it claimed the al-Shabab group was using to spread “sham” anti-Islam and "good culture" messages.
Last week, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared a military offensive against the Al-Qaeda-linked group. The campaign seeks to wipe out al-Shabaab, which has been wreaking havoc in the East African country since 2006.