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The South Africa government is considering regulating social media to counter “false stories” and the spread of fake news, said State Security Minister David Mahlobo.
Yes, if you’ve ever shared a story because it’s funny or you did not bother to check if it was true or false, you may have provoked big brother SA to look over your shoulder in the online space. Congrats.
David Mahlobo, who was part of a press briefing given by the ministers of justice, crime prevention and security cluster in Pretoria, hinted at the government‘s plans yesterday.
Responding to a question on what intelligence services were doing to deal with misleading information on social media. “There is a lot of peddling that is going on [in social media],” said Mahlobo, adding that the government was contemplating regulating the medium.
“Even the best democracies that are revered, are regulating social media. Most of our challenges are coming from that space. We will discuss how we will regulate it.” Added Mahlobo.
It’s unclear which “democracies” do this, since the foremost country that controls the use of the internet, China, is not a democracy in any sense of the word. China’s list of blocked websites and internet services is already big, and it continues to grow.
In as much as we hate fake news , we all want to keep the internet as open, as flexible, as innovative, and as valuable as possible. And many of us assume that this means the net should be subject to no regulation at all. An unregulated internet will encourage innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors try as many things as possible, as quickly as possible.