Africa in need of locally developed social media platforms

28 April 2017

Digital Content

South Africa's Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) has recommended the development and use of more local social media platforms in order to combat hateful and unlawful content.

The internet industry body refers to the We Are Social's 2016 Digital Report which found that while some 27 million South Africans spend an average of three hours a day tweeting, posting and liking media on international social media platforms, none of the country's top ten favourite social media platforms had been developed locally.

The ISPA says the poor showing by locally developed social media networks poses a challenge in dealing with hate speech and other unlawful material posted on these platforms.

Dominic Cull, regulatory advisor to ISPA says the internationalised nature of social networking services and lack of popular and locally developed alternatives has resulted in a complicated way of enforcing local laws and values.

"South Africans abroad, in a social media sense, cannot expect protection from the laws of their own country when trying to have this content removed. If one chooses to interact with international platforms, one must use international mechanisms to solve any problems. We may have fundamental rights to privacy and dignity, but these can be extremely difficult to exercise where a platform is hosted in another country". Read the full article on ITWeb Africa here.