Senegal suspends Tik Tok, of all apps. We’ve been there our Senegalese friends

Leonard Sengere Avatar
TikTok job

Politics ruins everything, doesn’t it? People who long for power will do anything to get it and do even worse things to maintain it. Those of us lucky enough to be born on the African continent could tell stories for days.

Today we are talking about the Senegalese government blocking access to Tik Tok, of all apps. That’s a crazy sentence right there. The ridiculous app with the dance videos is somehow a threat to the stability of Senegal. Um, okay.

There has to be more to the story. Let’s track back to how they got there.

How we got to the Tik Tok outage

  • Senegal is set to elect a new president in about six months’ time
  • The ruling party has not announced a candidate yet but has confirmed the sitting president won’t run
  • An opposition leader with a decent following was sentenced to two years in prison for inappropriate behaviour towards girls under 21, a crime many believe he didn’t commit
  • He is yet to do that time but if he does, that would preclude him from running in the next elections
  • The sentencing led to widespread rioting which has led to deaths

In response to the rioting, the Senegalese government limited access to some messaging platforms. You know, to stop the masses from coordinating riots.

The people got around this by using VPNs and the government countered by extending the outage to include all data on mobile internet devices in certain areas at certain times. The government said,

Because of the spread of hateful and subversive messages … mobile Internet is temporarily suspended at certain hours of the day

Senegal is not unlike Zimbabwe. Those with access to fixed internet are a minority, with the majority using mobile internet. So, the outage has been effective to a degree.

It’s not a total outage at all times and so people still get to use the internet when the government allows it. However, the government became concerned about people’s activities on Tik Tok and decided they were up to mischief and so revoked their Tik Tok privileges.

Hence the headline – Senegal suspends Tik Tok.

Said the minister of communications,

The TikTok application is the social network of choice for ill-intentioned people to spread hateful and subversive messages threatening the stability of the country

I guess Tik Tok is to Senegal what Twitter X is to Zimbabwe. There is a lot of political commentary on there.

Not so bad in Zim, huh?

For all our problems in Zimbabwe, it hasn’t gotten to the point of restricting access to Tik Tok or any other social media platform. That should be expected, sort of a bare minimum but looking at Senegal, it looks like it’s something we should celebrate.

The Zimbabwean elections are less than a month away now but we are sharing It’s giving Zimbabwe memes on Tik Tok without a care in the world. Senegal’s elections are half a year away and there are riots in the cities, mobile internet outages and Tik Tok bans.

What’s happening in Senegal does not sound crazy to Zimbabweans though. We have been there before. We have waded those waters multiple times in the past.

Back in 2019 we started by banning social media in response to protests sweeping the nation. Then we went on to shut down the internet. You may recall Strive Masiyiwa of Econet posting the message below:

This morning I was informed that the authorities in Zimbabwe have directed that all Internet services be shut down.

As it was a written directive issued in terms of the law, non-compliance would result in immediate imprisonment of management on the ground.

Last week we were issued with a similar order in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC].

We complied as directed.

Strive Masiyiwa on Facebook, 15 January 2019

This is an established African government tactic – people protest and you cut off their internet. Thankfully, it hasn’t been used in Zimbabwe in the lead-up to the 2023 presidential elections.

Also read:

My Companies Were Complying With The Law When They Blocked The Internet But I am Praying And Fasting For You Says Strive Masiyiwa

Social Media Blocked In Zimbabwe As Protests Continue

This Is The Law Government Used To Shutdown Zimbabwe’s Internet: It Really Doesn’t Say They Can Shut The Internet

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17 comments

  1. Bounty hunter

    A bad man wil never be good

  2. BlueπŸ’™

    I have a few carrier pigeons if anyone is interested. Their stock value just went up with the elections nearing. There’s going to be a total internet outage. Better stay connected

    1. Anonymous

      We can even call those messages tweets since Elon decided to rebrand twitter

    2. N

      πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…yah if they do that we go back to the old ways of pigeons and messenger birds

  3. D.K.

    My network seems to be slowing down and getting worse by the day. Am I hallucinating to think that it may even go down and will spring back to normal from August 24?

  4. Cde che

    Africa is full of crazy people masquerading as leaders who cole up with crazy leadership methods. Africa’s greatest development hindrance is its own people. It’s only in Africa where so called leaders sacrifice national interest for personal gain. What’s the logic of banning one app out of the whole basket of apps. Will not the users just jump to other apps? Leave pple to air their views freely

  5. N

    πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚we now go back to the old ways , how about message in the bottle

  6. Punny Guy

    Dic(tator) move. At least it’s good pr for tiktok. I think this is their first ban for being a vehicle for free speech and expression instead of being a foreign extension of an unnamed state’s spying apparatus πŸ˜…

    1. Punny Guy

      Ps. @Elon, I know you are busy with X, cybertruck and mars, but we still await digital salvation from the starsπŸ™πŸΎ

      1. Vee wekuBluez

        Linking us to the stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    2. S.K

      πŸ™Œ digital salvation from the stars πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      Couldn’t have put it in a better way. Funny Guy

  7. Robert Mugabe

    Africa is cursed

    1. D.K.

      …. and cased!

  8. Galela Gase

    What do you expect when you take clowns & set them on Presidential Chairs? The entire country turns into a ClownSquare!!

    1. indeed

      100% agreed, previously unknown z a n u bu m clowns spring up everywhere , starlink + generator/solar is way to go for next 6 weeks or so …

  9. Anonymous

    That’s the beauty of VPNs

  10. Registered Voter

    Well said but this is not an African issue alone. USA banned Huawei and is still fighting TikTok. Be that as it may be. The coy may follow the law of that country and nothing will change but people will suffer for lack of funny videos, maybe they will opt for Likee. Plus govts are allowed to do so if they see a threat.

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