Africa cracks down on social media

Digital Content

As the mobile revolution continues to drive change across Africa, governments are rushing to introduce legislation to curb cyber crime and to regulate the use of social media platforms.

Security experts warn that African governments and commercial online services are vulnerable to criminals, who have the potential to disrupt critical infrastructure.

But critics say that these laws could also be used to clamp down on the use of online platforms that promote good governance, express dissent and mobilize citizen engagement.

The measures have not only been implemented in countries known for strict media controls such as Ethiopia, but are also being introduced in democracies such as Kenya and South Africa.

Concerns over rising cyber threats

While rising internet use is driving the rapid growth of the digital economy and enhancing access to information and government services in Africa, it has also exposed users to new and sophisticated threats.

The two largest economies in Africa - South Africa and Nigeria - are each estimated to lose $500m (£375m) annually to cyber criminals, according to a 2016 McAfee report.

In addition, African governments are fighting against local and international hacktivist groups who have carried out several disruptive attacks in recent years.

Anonymous Africa claimed responsibility for several attacks that targeted the website of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in July over the broadcaster's ban on broadcasting violent protests.

The group also shut down the website of the Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF in support of anti-government protests. Read the full article on the BBC website here:

Source: BBC News