Cyberbullying: Defamatory video lands TikToker in trouble
A TikToker has been charged with cyberbullying and harassment after allegedly posting on her account that a company which had hired her to market its products had declined to pay her.
Ms Jennifer Wambui Karanja aka Kairetu Jenny, who was arraigned before the Makadara Law Courts in Nairobi, is facing charges of willfully publishing the video on June 29, 2023 where she claimed that Tenacity Locks Limited had refused to pay her knowing the same will detrimentally affect the company.
She is accused of making the claims contrary to section 23 of the computer misuse and cybercrimes Act of 2018.
The company, through its lawyer, told the court that it had paid the accused person all her dues via M-Pesa, adding that they have statements to prove the same.
Senior Principal Magistrate Gerald Mutiso had sought to understand the grounds of the charges since demanding payment is not an offence.
The company’s director Kennedy Wachira Ndwiga had contracted Ms Karanja to advertise his business on her TikTok account in May this year. The two parties agreed verbally that Mr Ndwiga would be paying the accused Sh4,000 for each video posted on her account.
The agreement was that the accused person was to be the company’s brand ambassador and marketing influencer for purposes of helping the company increase its sales by increasing digital presence because she has a huge following online.
Ms Karanja made two videos at the company and posted them on her timeline and was paid for the same immediately through M-Pesa.
She later made two more two videos which she posted on the same account and Mr Ndwiga told police that thereafter Ms Karanja stopped marketing the company. The suspect later allegedly sent a WhatsApp message to the company’s director on June 29 demanding her payment.
The director reminded her that they had agreed on a payment for each video posted and not a monthly engagement.
Ms Karanja however, is said to have gone live on her TikTok account in emotional and distraught state claiming that she was on verge of committing suicide, alleging that the company had declined to pay her after she did excellent marketing work for it.
During investigations into the matter, Mr Ndwiga told the police that he reached out to Ms Karanja but his efforts to settle the matter were met with hostility as the accused person allegedly threatened to escalate the matter. This prompted him to report the matter to the police who traced and arrested Ms Karanja.
However, during interrogation by the police, the accused claimed that she reached a verbal agreement with Mr Ndwiga that he would pay her monthly. She claimed that she posted an article and three more videos on the TikTok in the month of June.
The accused denied the charges before Mr Mutiso and sought lenient bail and bond terms through her lawyer. She said that a defamation suit against her was pending in High Court over the same matter.
She was released on a bond of Sh100,000 and an alternative cash bail of Sh20,000. The case will be mentioned on September 6, 2023 for a pretrial.