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CS Fred Matiang’i: The government will not shut down Facebook during the elections.

Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Fred Matiang’i has rejected the NCIC’s proposal to suspend Facebook for failing to flag hate content in the run-up to the August 9, 2022 General Election.

On Friday, July 29, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) stated that Facebook, a social media platform owned by the American company Meta, had violated Kenya’s hate prevention guidelines.

The NCIC stated that it had requested a response from Facebook in response to its concerns, but that the social networking platform had ignored its numerous letters.

As a result, the NCIC announced on Friday that if Facebook does not file a response within seven days of July 29, the commission will recommend that it be barred from the Kenyan market.

The statement has sparked criticism from the government, with Cabinet secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) stating that the government has no plans to close Facebook operations in Kenya.

Speaking in Nyamira County on Saturday, July 30, CS Matiang’i assured Kenyans that Facebook operations would continue after August 9, when Kenyans go to the polls to elect their next set of leaders.

“I heard the NCIC propose that Facebook be shut down during the elections.” That is a recommendation from one or two NCIC commissioners. The government’s position is unequivocal: we will uphold the Constitution, which emphasizes Kenyans’ rights. We will not interfere with people’s rights as a government.

“Senior government officials have not discussed anywhere that the social media or internet should be shut down during the upcoming elections.” We are an experienced government.

“Criticism [which Kenyans are subjected to on a daily basis] is a way of life, and we are accustomed to it.” We work in a democratic environment. We will not interfere with social media or the internet solely for political reasons,” he stated.

“The opinion of the NCIC commissioner [Danvas Makori to suspend Facebook] is not something that we will even consider,” the minister added.

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