MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somalia’s government says it intends to shut down access to certain social media platforms including TikTok and Telegram, which authorities believe disproportionately harm youth.
The announcement late Sunday by the ministry of communications and technology came after a meeting convened by Minister Jama Hassan Khalif amid concerns that the platforms can spread extremist content, nude images and other material seen as offensive to Somali culture and Islam. The ministry statement also cited gambling platform 1XBET.
This is the first official attempt by a government institution in Somalia to shut down any platform on social media. The decision will take effect on Aug. 24. It would require the compliance of privately run telecom companies.
One social media user with a large following in Somalia, Bilaal Bulshawi, expressed contempt for the government’s order and asserted that the government is powerless to prohibit such platforms.
“Even if it tries, we will utilize every means available to make our applications functional,” Bulshawi said, including by using virtual private networks, or VPNs, which can mask a user’s location to circumvent censorship or location-based viewing restrictions.