Somalia’s Minister of Communications and Technology, Jama Hassan Khalif announced on Sunday (20 August) that Somalia is to ban TikTok, the encrypted messaging service Telegram and sports betting app 1XBet.

In a statement from the minister released by national broadcaster SNTV on Sunday, Khalif stated the ban was “to protect the moral fabric of the society.”

The al Qaeda-linked insurgent group al-Shabaab uses Telegram to communicate and often posts its activities to TikTok.

The ban is thought to precede the second phase of offensive action against al-Shabaab. The Somali army has been fighting against the insurrectionist group since August of last year.

The online platforms have until 24 August to comply.

With the announcement, Somalia joins the list of countries banning or considering bans on Chinese-owned TikTok. On 18 May, 2023, Montana became the first US state to ban the app over fears about data security. The ban will come into force on 1 January, 2024. New York banned the app from government devices on 17 August.

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By GlobalData

Several countries have now barred the app from government devices over concerns the Chinese company ByteDance, which owns the app, may be used by the Chinese government to collect user data.

The European Commission and EU Council temporarily banned TikTok from employee phones on 23 February, with the UK government following suit on 16 March, 2023. TikTok is also currently banned on all Australian government devices.