Senegal has suspended access to the social media app TikTok until further notice, the communications minister said on Wednesday, days after restricting the use of mobile internet amid opposition protests.
The minister, Moussa Bocar Thiam, said that the government had observed that TikTok was being used to spread “hateful and subversive messages” that threatened the stability of the country.
The ban on TikTok comes as Senegal is facing a political crisis following the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko. Sonko is accused of rape, but his supporters say the charges are politically motivated.
The protests against Sonko’s arrest have turned violent in recent weeks, and the government has responded by restricting access to the internet. The latest ban on TikTok is seen as an attempt by the government to further silence dissent.
The ban on TikTok has been met with criticism from human rights groups, who say it is an infringement on freedom of expression. They argue that the government is using the ban to stifle criticism of its handling of the political crisis.
It is unclear how long the ban on TikTok will last. However, it is likely to add to the tensions in Senegal, which is already facing a serious political crisis.
TikTok is currently under scrutiny in Kenya as well with ICT CS Eliud Owalo’ expressing the government’s commitment to imposing stricter measures, if necessary, to close loopholes that allow the abuse of social media platforms.