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Kenya to monitor hate-speech in WhatsApp groups

Kenya to monitor hate-speech in WhatsApp groups

WhatsApp group admins in Kenya will be held responsible for the spread of falsehood and hate speech within their groups.

According to a report by techweez, in an elections preparedness stakeholder's breakfast meeting held yesterday, Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya Director General, Francis Wangusi said that WhatsApp group admins will be held responsible for the "spread of falsehood and hate speech" within their groups.

Wangusi said that group admins have the mandate to ensure that members of the group do not spread any form of hate speech, rumours or fake news. "We have identified 21 County WhatsApp platforms and we have indicated to their administrators that they have to take action before we deal with them," he said.

He also added that Communication Authority's monitors had already started 'doing their job,' monitoring telecommunications gadgets, social media platforms and mainstream media, looking for any form of hate speech.

During the meeting in Kenya, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chairman, Francis Ole Kaparo, said that the organisation had launched a massive crackdown on offensive websites and other social media platforms.

"A major concern, however, is how these two organisations (CA and NCIC) will monitor WhatsApp groups without breaching people's privacy," notes techweez.

According to WhatsApp's privacy policy, messages shared within the platform are encrypted. "We do not retain your messages in the ordinary course of providing our Services to you... We also offer end-to-end encryption for our Services, which is on by default, when you and the people with whom your message use a version of our app released after April 2, 2016. End-to-end encryption means that your messages are encrypted to protect against us and third parties from reading them," reads the policy.

However, under the 'Law and Protection' section, WhatsApp states: "We may collect, use, preserve, and share your information if we have a good-faith belief that it is reasonably necessary to: (a) respond pursuant to applicable law or regulations, to legal process, or to government requests."

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