In a bold move that’s making waves in the digital entertainment world, the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has set its sights on TikTok Lives. The call for action comes after high-level meetings between KFCB and the brains behind TikTok, sparking a potential seismic shift in the way we enjoy our late-night digital entertainment.
Joel Wamalwa, the Acting CEO of KFCB, revealed in a riveting interview on Citizen TV that this call for a TikTok Live overhaul stems from a series of intense discussions held with TikTok’s top brass. The objective? To ensure the platform boasts nothing but squeaky clean content when the moon is high in the Kenyan sky.
According to Wamalwa, TikTok has been urged to put its Live feature to bed between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. unless they can prove that the late-night streams are 100% Kenyan-bred. This crackdown, prompted by explicit live streams, is aimed at safeguarding young viewers from inadvertently stumbling upon mature content.
But that’s not all; KFCB has thrown down the gauntlet, insisting that all live streams conform to their community guidelines and those set by TikTok itself. It’s a double whammy of regulations designed to keep the content morally afloat.
“We have demanded that the Live feature be disabled until they ascertain all the credentials that are coming from Kenya,” asserted Wamalwa, his words laced with conviction. He also highlighted the necessity of TikTok tightening the reins by tracking a device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, effectively slamming the door on serial offenders.
Content creators are not exempt from this revolution. They’re being called upon to exercise self-regulation, ensuring their content is family-friendly before hitting that alluring ‘Live’ button. In this collaborative dance between TikTok and KFCB, the goal is clear: clean up the act and protect the innocence of children.
This seismic shift in TikTok’s Kenyan operations follows a citizen-driven petition that reached the hallowed halls of Kenya’s National Assembly in August 2023. This groundswell of public opinion eventually led to a meeting of the minds between President William Ruto and TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew. The outcome? A pledge to establish a TikTok hub in Kenya, ensuring the platform plays by Kenyan rules.
KFCB, the guardian of moral standards in Kenya’s entertainment landscape,established by the Films and Stage Plays Act of 1962, which came into force in 1963.The Board primarily classifies and rates films by examining them and giving them a certificate of approval.The KFCB has the power to approve or refuse to approve films and posters.The Board is mandated to regulate the creation, broadcast, possession, distribution, and exhibition of films in the country The KFCB also has the power to ban movies, videos, and other content leading to the protection of children from exposure to harmful content
But Kenya isn’t the only African country grappling with the TikTok dilemma. Somalia put its foot down with a total ban due to explicit content, while Senegal suspended the platform in response to divisive messages. In Uganda and Egypt, the cry for a TikTok ban has grown louder, signaling a continent-wide struggle for control in the digital age. As the dust settles and TikTok adjusts to Kenya’s new demands, one thing is clear: the battle for clean, family-friendly digital entertainment has just begun.