TikTok is getting caught in political and moral disputes across several African nations.
In August, Senegal and Somalia banned the app, with calls to do the same in Kenya and Uganda. While local governments and petitioners have cited security risks and morality as reasons to take action against TikTok, lawyers and activists told Rest of World via text and social media messages that the Chinese app is falling prey to politically motivated decisions.
“It seems it’s a political decision shrouded in a morality cloak,” said Mohamed Mubarak, a Somali policy analyst. “The government is unhappy about the political parody of the president and [prime minister] and is using ‘human rights’ as a justification.” In its official announcement of the ban on August 20, the Somali government said its decision was based on the damage the app had caused to the country’s social morals and cultural values.