The Federal Republic of Somalia is the latest country to ban cryptocurrency-friendly messaging app Telegram, alongside TikTok social media app and the online-betting site 1XBet.
Somalia’s Ministry of Communications and Technology (MOCT) officially announced on Aug. 20 that the government is shutting down Telegram, TikTok and 1XBet.
On Sunday, MOCT Minister Jama Hassan Khalif held a meeting on telecommunications and internet security in social media with the National Communications Agency and major Somali telecom firms. The minister said that the government of Somalia is “working to preserve the culture of Somali society,” as telecom and internet devices have “affected lifestyles and increased bad habits.”
The announcement by MOCT reads:
“It was considered important to shut down TikTok, Telegram and 1XBet gambling equipment, which had an impact on Somali youth, causing some of them to die.”
According to online reports, Somalia’s move to ban TikTok, Telegram and 1XBet also aims to limit the spread of indecent content and propaganda.
“The minister of communications orders internet companies to stop the aforementioned applications, which terrorists and immoral groups use to spread constant horrific images and misinformation to the public,” Khalif reportedly said. He added that Telegram and other applications were ordered to suspend their operations in Somalia by Aug. 24. “Anyone who does not follow this order will face clear and appropriate legal measures,” the official reportedly stated.
The Ministry of Telecommunications and Technology announces the ban of #TikTok, #Telegram and online betting platform of 1Xbet, a move to counter and prevent indecent activities & contents, and extremism propaganda.#Somalia pic.twitter.com/dphcpuH18a— SNTV News (@sntvnews1) August 20, 2023
It’s not immediately clear whether Somalia’s decision to ban Telegram and other platforms have any implications for the country’s cryptocurrency adoption. In a similar way to many countries in Africa, investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) is not banned in Somalia. In the meantime, many global jurisdictions often argue that crypto is associated with terrorism financing risks.
The MOCT did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending new information.
The news comes just a few days after Iraq’s telecom ministry lifted the ban on Telegram in mid-August. The authority banned the messaging app in early August, citing personal data and security concerns.
In April, Telegram was temporarily suspended across Brazil as authorities were investigating neo-Nazi groups that were reported to use the messaging platform to incite school attacks. Telegram was reportedly fined roughly $186 million for not complying with an investigation into neo-Nazi activities on the platform.
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