Kenyans might soon pay for clearance to own Facebook, WhatsApp groups

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Kenyans might soon pay for social media tax if a bill proposed by a lawmaker passes through.

If passed, the bill will compel all the administrators of Facebook and WhatsApp groups to obtain a special licence from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA).

“The Commission may on application in a prescribed manner and upon payment of a prescribed fee, grant a license authorising any person to establish a social media platform for purposes of communication,” it reads.

The social media bill is headed to Parliament this week and will also propose that users and group administrators who allow offending content on their social media platforms be jailed.

“Any person who contravenes the provision of this section commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred thousand shillings, or to an imprisonment of a term not exceeding one year,” the bill states.

Administrators will also be liable for members who post derogatory content and will be required to take full control of the group.

The Bill defines social media platforms to include “online publishing and discussion, media sharing, blogging, social networking, document and data sharing repositories, social media applications, social bookmarking and widgets.”

Also to be affected by the regulations are bloggers who the Bill defines as those involved in “collecting, writing, editing and presenting of news or news articles in social media platforms or in the internet.”

“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 bloggers,” reads the Bill’s memorandum of objects and reasons.

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