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'Instigators used social media to incite, now SA is using it to help rebuild'

19 July 2021 10:40 AM
Tags:
Social media
unrest
social unrest
insurrection

CapeTalk host Abongile Nzelenzele chats to Naz Consulting CEO Nazareen Ebrahim about the use of social media during the unrest in SA.
  • Media specialist Nazareen Ebrahim says the recent unrest in South Africa has shown how social media can be used for maliciousness but also to mobilise for good
  • She says the riots that gripped the country last week have also highlighted the importance of fact-checking and verifying news sources

Social media was used to incite violence and fuel misinformation during the failed insurrection in South Africa last week.

But the very same platforms that were weaponised to spur days of unrest are now being used to mobilise clean-up campaigns and build unity among South Africans.

That's the power of social media, says media and communications specialist Nazareen Ebrahim.

RELATED: DA wants Zuma children, Malema prosecuted for fanning violence on social media

Ebrahim says the week-long unrest that gripped parts of the country has highlighted the dark side of social media and why misinformation is so dangerous.

She says platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook are being used by volunteers and organisers to coordinate clean-up efforts in communities that were devastated by looting and public violence.

According to Ebrahim, political figures, celebrities, and other prominent online personalities are becoming more cautious about how they use social media to articulate their views or share information.

She says people with a large online following are beginning to realise the responsibility that comes with their platforms.

RELATED: Nearly 50k people join RebuildSA on Facebook to clean up after looting

WhatsApp remains a strong communication medium for instant messaging... people have mobilised themselves using the power of groups, forwarded messages... and supporting that with the mechanism of Fcabeook to coordinate communication with community groups on Facebook and public business pages.

Nazareen Ebrahim, CEO - Naz Consulting

It's an absolute riot when you think about the dark side of how social media has been used to instigate and incite hate or racial profiling or discontent, or the positive side which I'm so pleased to say has far exceeded our expectations in terms of being a nation that has come together to really say to those that have instigated this hate and anarchist campaign that we are realy more united as South Africans than we are divided.

Nazareen Ebrahim, CEO - Naz Consulting

People are starting to be more careful about constructing the narrative around them.

Nazareen Ebrahim, CEO - Naz Consulting

If you come across a piece of news, verify the information... Investigate your own intention in sharing this - are you there to cause division or inspire unity? You really have power in your hands.

Nazareen Ebrahim, CEO - Naz Consulting

We are living in an age that we have never lived in before. We really do have power as individuals, not just with our voice as citizens, but with the power of using social media.

Nazareen Ebrahim, CEO - Naz Consulting



19 July 2021 10:40 AM
Tags:
Social media
unrest
social unrest
insurrection

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