The government is contemplating regulating social media to counter false narratives and the spread of fake news on these media networks.
State Security Minister David Mahlobo, who was part of a justice, crime prevention and security cluster ministers media briefing, spoke about the government’s plans in Pretoria yesterday.
Mahlobo was responding to a question on what intelligence services were doing to counter false narratives on social media.
Mahlobo said while social media provided endless opportunities where people communicated, made friends and did business, the social media space had risks.
“The space, instead of giving us endless opportunities, there are negatives that are coming up. There is a lot of peddling that is going on there.”
He said the government was contemplating regulating the space.
Right2Know Campaign spokesman Murray Hunter said although the spread of false information and fake news online was worrying, it would be a huge threat to media freedom if the state regulated the social media space.
“This is what we have seen happening in Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Egypt,” he said.
“When governments lose control of their political powers, they clamp down on social media.”
Hunter said the government should instead fix major failings, like the payment of social grants and corruption.