Somalia’s Ministry of Communications and Technology has ordered the country’s internet service providers to turn off access for social media platforms TikTok, Telegram, and gambling site 1xBet.
The Minister of Communications and Technology, Jama Hassan Khalif, gave the order in a statement issued Sunday, citing security and fighting terrorism as reasons for blocking the companies.
The statement said constant violations by terror groups using social media sites affected the safety and stability of society.
In addition, the Ministry said it’s working to protect the moral conduct of the Somali people when using communication and internet tools that have affected the way of life and have increased “bad practices,” according to the statement.
“You are being ordered to shut down the applications mentioned above by Thursday August 24, 2023 at 11:30 evening, at the latest,” Khalif said in the statement. “Anyone who does not follow this order will face clear and appropriate legal measures.”
The al-Shabab militant group regularly uses Telegram’s messaging service to publish its videos, press releases, and posts audio of interviews with their commanders.
TikTok is believed to be fastest growing site in Somalia. It is used by young people and even government officials.
Last week, TikTok posted a statement saying it has hosted a series of workshops with various stakeholders in Somalia aimed at keeping the platform safe.
Khalif said betting on 1XBET is even distracting government soldiers who are fighting defending the nation.
“We know the use is expansive,” he said.
He said the government does not know the people behind these sites in the country.
“That kind of money is not Halal (permissible), no one taxes it, no one knowns what they are and where they come from; and its crime.”
Last year, the Somali government ordered internet service providers to block al-Shabab websites, but some of the sites remain to accessible globally to date.
“The federal government of Somalia recognized as crime the dissemination of terrorist messages and encouraging their acts of brutality – by any media or person on social media. Action will be taken according to the law to any[one] who failed this resolution, “the government statement said at the time.
The Ministry Communication and Technology said it has launched a public awareness campaign to warn the public about the dangers of communication and the Internet, which makes it easy to spread news and unfounded information that harms innocent people or incites the community.