'MXit must be regulated'

2008-08-14 08:03
Johannesburg - The Film and Publication Board wants social networks like MXit to be regulated by legislation.

"There just isn't enough to take remedial steps. We don't only want to look after victims, we want to prevent these kinds of incidents," said Iyavar Chetty, acting director of the board.

His statement comes after insulting material was spread on the MXit network over the past few weeks.

'Slut list'

Beeld reported previously that "slut lists" with the names, telephone numbers and addresses of school girls were spread on the social network.

"It is over these incidents that the board will strictly apply amendments to the Film and Publications Act and take steps against MXit if necessary," Chetty said.

These amendments have already been approved by the parliamentary portfolio committee and are thus well on their way to becoming law.

Chetty said the amendments will require social networks to monitor their network for "any material that could be damaging or traumatic to children".

MXit's executive director Herman Heunis said Chetty's criticism was unfair.

Preventative measures

He said in a statement that the network has various preventative measures.

For example MXit already makes use of moderators to look out for "unacceptable behaviour" in chat rooms.

The moderators are not online all day and monitor the chat rooms randomly.

"There is obviously a serious misconception over how MXit works and where the responsibility lies. It is impossible to monitor all traffic on the network," Heunis said.

He added that users have a constitutional right to privacy and that MXit will only provide information to the authorities if they are ordered by a court to do so.

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