Senegalese authorities took decisive action on Wednesday, suspending the TikTok application indefinitely in response to the spread of “hateful and subversive” content following protests surrounding the imprisonment of opposition figure Ousmane Sonko on Monday.
In an effort to address the situation, internet access on cell phones was already cut off on Monday for similar reasons. According to Moussa Bocar Thiam, the Minister of Communication and the Digital Economy, the TikTok platform has become a favored channel for malicious individuals to disseminate messages that threaten the country’s stability.
The protests erupted in response to the detention of Mr. Sonko on various charges, including allegations of inciting insurrection. Tragically, the demonstrations led to the loss of lives, with three people killed in the southern part of the country and in the suburbs of Dakar.
Moreover, on Tuesday, two more fatalities occurred in Dakar due to an incendiary device attack on a bus, but as of yet, there is no clear link established between this attack and the protests surrounding Mr. Sonko’s imprisonment.
The imposition of internet restrictions has drawn criticism from human rights organization Amnesty International, which views these measures as an assault on freedom of information. The organization has called on the authorities to restore internet access.
For Ousmane Sonko, this marks the third legal procedure against him, adding to his two previous convictions. As a declared candidate in the 2024 presidential elections, he faces potential prison sentences ranging from five to 20 years, according to legal experts.
Mr. Sonko, who secured the third position in the 2019 presidential election, was earlier sentenced to two years in prison on June 1 in a separate case. This previous conviction had triggered significant unrest in Senegal, resulting in the deaths of sixteen people according to the authorities, while the opposition claims the death toll is closer to thirty.
This is Not the First Time
The European Consumer Complaints has accused TikTok of alleged EU Law violations. The popular video-sharing platform, is facing a series of regulatory complaints in Europe, as consumer protection groups have joined forces to file coordinated complaints citing multiple breaches of EU law.
The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has taken the lead in this endeavor, lodging a formal complaint with the European Commission and the bloc’s network of consumer protection authorities. Simultaneously, consumer organizations from 15 countries have also raised concerns with their respective national authorities, urging them to investigate TikTok’s conduct.
The complaints encompass a range of issues, including allegations of unfair terms in relation to copyright and TikTok’s virtual currency. Furthermore, there are growing concerns about the type of content children are exposed to on the platform, raising questions about its appropriateness for young audiences. Additionally, TikTok is being accused of misleading data processing and questionable privacy practices, prompting further scrutiny.
To provide evidence for these claims, two reports have been compiled in association with the complaints. One report focuses on TikTok’s approach to consumer protection, highlighting potential violations. The other report delves into data protection and privacy concerns, shedding light on how user data is handled on the platform.