News24

Mbeki sceptical about Twitter

2012-01-17 07:25

Cape Town - Former president Thabo Mbeki said on Monday he was sceptical about Twitter being a great conveyor of reliable knowledge.

Mbeki said in response to a question after a speech to the University of Stellenbosch Business School that he thought the social media tool was not appropriate for discussing knowledge meant for the betterment of society.

“I am sceptical about this notion of Twitter being that great conveyor instrument for the democratisation of knowledge,” Mbeki said at the start of the school's knowledge conference.

“If you want to discuss knowledge which has got to do with the betterment of society I don't think it is appropriate.

“Even the internet in general, blogging and so on, is not the place where you can… put all these things under theories."

'False knowledge'

In his speech Mbeki questioned whether knowledge had become “less democratised and more compromised” as an instrument for the improvement of society. He said traditional media institutions were unable to control which political rhetoric "caught fire" with the public.

It was difficult investigate claims and counter-claims, he said. The conference should look into how false knowledge was "advanced" by groups with agendas.

He suggested that "false knowledge" was used to remove slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power.

“False knowledge was advanced that the Gaddafi regime was about to slaughter millions of civilians,” Mbeki said.

"This was to justify the imposition of a 'no-fly zone' over Libya which served as a cover to overthrow the Libyan government and impose a regime approved by the Western Powers in their interest."

The Council of Europe had also asserted that "false knowledge" was propagated about a swine flu epidemic in 2009 to benefit highly profitable pharmaceutical companies.

Media still influential


Mbeki said the media remained very influential in South Africa.

“It becomes a very important vehicle for the conveyance of that knowledge,” he said.

“Particularly [where] readers seem to have sufficient confidence in the media, so they think if it comes from newspaper it is true.

"Thabo Mbeki stole half a dozen eggs from supermarket. Therefore it is true because it comes from the newspaper."

Comments
  • Faizie - 2012-01-17 07:34

    And the next SA Comedian on the Jay Leno show is ????????????????????/

      Squeegee - 2012-01-17 07:41

      False knowledge about the existance of HIV and Aids was propagated by the office of the President for several years in South Africa leading to the death of thousands. Shut up Mbeki, who opend your cage?

      Sikanyiso - 2012-01-17 07:50

      Thabo "Tiboz" Mbeki is a commedian and the great intellectual of our time. We real need this man to come back to active politics and lead this country to a better future. There is a yawning revine and vaccum since he left. He must come back before this country is left into political oblivion by global powers. Sikanyiso Tonise from Port St Johns.

      Matthew - 2012-01-17 07:57

      Bloody Twitter-Denialist.

      Phumi - 2012-01-17 08:06

      The ANC does not suffer fools gladly and those who claim there is a leadership vacuum have wild sense of imaginiation. As Winnie Madikizela told you that "in our movement we do not recycle leadership". We can not elivate individuals to gods at the expense of the collective. One Mandela is one too many!

      Jerhone - 2012-01-17 08:50

      Is it because you can't gag twitter and company from reporting corruption and the theft of state funds, and the real truth of what is happening in S.A. you spineless wonder? have you ever thought that it is these platforms that open people's eyes in Libia,Egypt Tunisia,Syria and so on, i wonder if these electronic devices are allowed in Iran?

      Francois - 2012-01-17 09:32

      I did not know that knowledge can vote? How do you democraticise (if that is the right spelling) knowledge? It seems also if Mbeki got his info on Lybia from Twitter, nowhere in the printed media was the word "millions" used referring to the people slain by Muammer. Fact is one was one too many. Then on the misinforming of people, Mbeki stands not only accused of HIV Aids denial, but on keeping info om Zim from Zimmers and SA. Mbeki, give us the info on how you helped Bob to win the 2002 election - let freedom and self determination reign. You can't have your cake and eat it, but you can have your bicycle and ride it.

      Tshifhiwa - 2012-01-17 12:21

      @Xavier7034 You might want to read the article again; Mbeki is questioning the validity of information written in twitter or any other social network for that matter.

      Willie - 2012-01-17 16:34

      Please Mr President not again

      Anthony - 2012-01-17 17:48

      Twitter or no Twitter; "We will go door to door and find these rats" ( Meaning the oposition ) "The blood of these rebels will flow in the streets of Libya" ( The Rebels= aka oposition ) Luckily there was this other medium to record this; TV These utterances by this criminal thug gaddafi, had a lot to do with the approval of a "no fly zone" imposed by the UN!!!!!!!!!!

  • TheyTookMyNickLaZynEko - 2012-01-17 07:39

    depends who you follow.

      Felix - 2012-01-17 09:05

      Thabz should follow his brother, then he'd have an idea of what the real great minds in SA are thinking.

  • Chris - 2012-01-17 07:41

    Don't worry TBo, I'm sceptical about news24 being a reliable source of information

  • Phumi - 2012-01-17 07:46

    As the ANCYL we have said this long before about these so called morden convenors of knowladge the so called 'social networks' which are used by the lazy journalists as their sources of the story. The comrade president is 100% right and we should continue persuing the cause of shuting them down if they are not advancing knowladge and our society at large. Becase eventually they will reverse the gains we have made so far and this will pose a threat to our hard won democracy!

      Justin - 2012-01-17 07:53

      Phumi, you have just used the exact forum that you want to close down to spew your garbage!!!Smells like double standards to me!

      Matthew - 2012-01-17 08:04

      I thought Malema was already going to shut down Twitter... after nationalising all the mines and farms, leading a revolution, jetting off to Mauritius, tearing down mansions to build new ones, invade Botswana, shoot all the Boers. Busy young man. Wonder why such a dynamic firebrand doesnt lose some weight, with all he has to do. Dubula iTwitter.

      TheSlip - 2012-01-17 08:40

      Er, current affairs kinda suggest JZ is president.

      Paulus - 2012-01-17 08:45

      Dear Phumi... I think you should make use of all the modern conveyors of knowledge, in order to improve your spelling, syntax, and general literacy.

      Lordwick - 2012-01-17 10:34

      Which democrazy and where?There's no democrasy in South Africa and would never have for as long as this Criminals leading ANC now are still in charge!!!we are doomed nation!!!

      Schmee - 2012-01-17 10:41

      Ahhhh and there Phumi goes again. Still trying hard to become the king of the dislike hand.

      rdupreez - 2012-01-17 11:08

      Maybe you should advance your knowledge of the English language and learn to spell correctly... I'm sure you will find a blog out there to help you...

      ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-17 12:10

      I never thought it was possible for some1 else to be as pathetically stupid as Ju ju Malema, you just proved how wrong I was Phumi. Your stupidity knows no bounds

      raath - 2012-01-17 12:16

      It seems the ANCYL also gave up on spell-checker...

      George - 2012-01-17 12:17

      morden convenors of knowladge ........yaaass, im agree toomasshh

  • Maitseo - 2012-01-17 07:55

    i still say even though this man was removed from the ANC before he served his full time as president, we need leaders like him. he spoke the truth and wasnt a mere puppet of the ANC, for that he deserves the respect. when Bishop Tutu said they will pray for the downfall of the ANC, what we have seen so far is just the beginning

      wynandjsmit - 2012-01-17 09:04

      Mbeki was an idiot. I mean, remember his AIDS policy?

  • John - 2012-01-17 07:57

    Just like he was sceptical about AIDS......TOSSER

  • Ntombiziyabusa - 2012-01-17 07:57

    Anybody who disagrees with Mbeki and therefor seems to think that knowledge can be transmitted in 140 characters, does not know what knowledge is. That person is merely a class A moron who is confusing 'message' with 'knowledge'.

      Paulus - 2012-01-17 08:52

      So how many characters exactly does it take to transmit "knowledge"? I am interested in the process where a message, or lots of messages, becomes knowledge. Who decides? How long does it take? What is knowledge? For example, the people who believed the earth to be the centre of the solar system had knowledge, didn't they? How many conflicting messages was raised before they realised that their knowledge could be wrong?

      raath - 2012-01-17 12:20

      A URL to a new news article or blog post can be much less than 140 characters...

      mbuso.malale - 2012-01-17 13:47

      Well put dear. We are so naive to even contextualise what was Mbeki saying. Give yourselves some time and analyze. Social media has misled a number of people and made them to jump unto conclusions just like most of the comments here. We must differentiate knowledge and a message. Mbeki even quoted the way twitter and other social media insuated people to act abruptly even before putting logic first. We can only rely to social media for quick messages not knowledge. Again, it is worth noting that media is still controled by the west thus brainwashing us to think that everything reported is true. People are so obsessed by attacking the ANC even without understanding the context of the comment. For your own information, the more you attack someone or an organization, is the more you enhance its popularity. I rest my case.

  • Newsreader - 2012-01-17 07:58

    The twit Mbeki.....mmmmmmmmmm like the 40 million others are any better! If they were they would show it. Carry on South Africa. Hopefully one day something spectacular will happen like true democracy. We are certainly not getting any better going back to the same mistakes.

  • Hulisani - 2012-01-17 08:04

    Thabo at has false knowledge than Zuma who has none. A president who doesnt read. Thabo was betrayed for he was educated and listened to logic more often than not. Should Zuma had been the president at the time of HIV denial by Thabo, would you think Zuma would have been different - bear in mind this is a man with no knwledge at all. At least Thabo is somewhat knowledgable.

      Phumi - 2012-01-17 08:24

      Pres. Zuma has what is called indeginous knowladge something the leadership schools have overlooked and failed to aknowladge over the years! Your western educated Mbeki was outsmarted by a self taught man from Inkandla in all departments even when he had no state resources at his disposal to defend himself against those with power. Furthermore Zuma was democraticly elected by the masses and not appointed in his job like his predecessor. So all in all you are saying that the massases are not knowladgable?

      Blip - 2012-01-17 08:29

      Tboz is only a pseudo-intellectual. But he doesn't know that himself. He still imagines he's the real deal.

      Jerhone - 2012-01-17 09:24

      so you'll settle on clown no.2 that makes you clown no.3

  • Clive Paterson - 2012-01-17 08:09

    Mbeki was fired as president by his own party. Therefore his statements lack credibility!

  • Johan - 2012-01-17 08:19

    But then, he also beleives that HIV/AIDS can be cured by sangomas

  • Jus Tai - 2012-01-17 08:37

    ignorance is bliss, mistakes do happen no matter how costly they are!he made a mistake but undastanda business!false knowledge is very much alive in social networks dnt become a victim first before u believe it!Mbeki on point on this one

  • TheSlip - 2012-01-17 08:38

    Oh, so Thabo Moobeki is back?

  • Sikanyiso - 2012-01-17 08:39

    President Mbeki is a good negotiator and a convincer. Atrocities and genocide in Sudan are now issues of the past. According to Professor Muzuria and I quote "Mbeki is by far more worldly wise than Mandela." What this mean, Mbeki is the best intellectual and a diplomat the ANC has ever produced. This Black Englishman as he was affectinately called by his commrades in the dark days, has initiated a string of global dialogues and discourse on global matters which led to South Africa being treated on an equal patform with super powers of the world. When the European Union failed to fulfil its promises in aiding Africa, Mbeki led a group of all African heads of state to China in 2005 and concluded a compact partnership. The west was very agrieved and George Bush was quoted as saying the meeting was dominated by African despots.

      Jerhone - 2012-01-17 09:01

      he was such a genius he defended the beetroot miracle, now the pope wants to cannonize his late minister of health who jumped the queue for a liver transplant which she suiped to death again

      wynandjsmit - 2012-01-17 09:08

      HA ha ha. Wordly wise.... ha ha ha.

      Jerhone - 2012-01-17 12:38

      he was so wise thats why bob the oxygen thief is still in power and we have 3 million refugees taking jobs from our people, we are only on an equal platform because we sold our souls to China, now we ship our raw materials to China strengthen THEIR labour market and buy their inferior products WAY TO GO black Englishman

  • TheSlip - 2012-01-17 08:41

    To put the record straight: Mbeki was mislead by AIDS denialists and who can blame him? It's in the nature of governments to ignore problems in the hope they'll go away. . .then they even had people persuading them to do it. People that say belonging to MENSA is some sort of credential. Sure, he was retarded, but it wasn't his idea. He didn't invent AIDS-denialism.

  • Deeteem - 2012-01-17 08:51

    O M G Did this fool not damage our international image enough with the HIV/AIDS debacle ?? Oh I forgot, we are already the laughing stock without this idiot !!!

  • wynandjsmit - 2012-01-17 08:54

    Who on earth would be interested in Mbeki's opinion. Good heavens!

  • Aijaman - 2012-01-17 09:05

    Good point Mbeki

  • anthony.swart - 2012-01-17 09:09

    It's the whole HIV cure all over again......Mbeki u dinosaur!

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-17 09:21

    There is no better platform to express one's view than these social networks. The general public does not have any platform to raise their views meanwhile politicians and the elite abuse the abundance of these opportunities. The world has changed and neither Mbeki or Zuma would turn it back to a platonic era.

  • Jerhone - 2012-01-17 09:30

    is it a boat? is it a plane? No it's superdude Mbeki the SPINELESS WONDER back from the wilderness to save his gatgabba BOB THE DESTROYER of Zimbabwe

  • DuToitCoetzee - 2012-01-17 09:31

    I can't comment saying I know better than he does on the Libyan no-fly zone. That it served a purpose is true. If there was a deeper agenda behind it I don't know. I must say I also do not trust the players in that part, but I do not have the info and can't work on only media reports. That will be foolish. I believe the Aids issue will always count against him and there he should have been more clever. The swine-flu issue is very much debatable and one tend to rather be safe. Very true that the pharmaceutical companies rules and that they will do anything to keep and strengthen that position. I do not trust them at all, but once again, when not purely based on media reports, I must admit I do not have the knowledge. I still think one should rather play safe. His main points, that one can't do appropriated/well informed discussions on twitter and blogs, are 100% correct. In blogs you do get an informed comment now and than that add value, but that it quickly gets overshadowed by the popular, and mostly uninformed, opinion of the majority part takers. They can be a certain group or already influence by newspapers, etc. The twitter media is a short sensation driven way of communication. A slogan or newspaper headline system comes to mind. Yes I am a follower, but I am also not blind, death, etc.

  • Paulo - 2012-01-17 09:45

    it's natural to be sceptical of things you don't understand. Maybe he can ask his sangoma when they throw the bones.

  • Sfiso Comfort Mashile - 2012-01-17 09:59

    Very true Mr former Pres!

  • alexwrightcapetown - 2012-01-17 10:12

    We really need to know Mbeki's definition of "betterment of society". It seems his ideas might incorporate denialism and being stubborn based on prior experience. Can we get some politicians who actually know what's going on please?

  • Peter - 2012-01-17 10:24

    Well.... if you force the info bill on to the public, then anything will be "false info" as you will ban the truth, just as they did in Lybia under the DICTATORSHIP, that Mbeki seems to refer to his best friend in defending him.

  • Deon - 2012-01-17 10:32

    Mbeki was wrong about Gaddafi, he did order a plane or 2 to bomb civilians as well as a few tanks.

  • Noatmtta - 2012-01-17 10:49

    What a great man... He really thinks like the proper leader he was (still is to Me)... hes reasoning is on point, what a loss in government that we will never get back.. what an intellect..

  • Lordwick - 2012-01-17 10:54

    I so wish that the majority of this site can come to understand that it's not gonna be easy for Da to get the votes of the black people because of the hatred comments they are posting!!! In the past i wasted a lot of time arguing in racial issues instaed of being constructive to build healthy and succesful country.So by doing that you make the majority which is still oppressed to be obtuse instead of expressing what needs to be done in a bold and proffesional way!!! Thabo Mbeki is and would always be the best compared to the past and the present leadership in ANC.Let's convence the majority that we really need a change by not calling names and always posting negative deeds while ignoring the little good done.

      Jerhone - 2012-01-17 21:13

      is it not better to hear the truth no matter how harsh and open your eyes than to listen to false praise and be led down the garden path election after election never gaining much while others are living the high life like kings and princes? why are you satisfied with so little done and billions wasted by people who won't admit they can't govern and protect the nation after 18 years in power. how long are you going to keep banging your heads against the wall hoping that those greedy men in power will throw you some scraps, why won't you vote for another party because it has whites in it who could help you out of your shacks and squaulour by spending the tax money on the people not on fancy jets, cars,unessary arms deals wasted stadiums 400 million rand parties, this lot came to billions of rands which could have taken every south african out of a shack and built them a house but it's all gone now

  • superkruger - 2012-01-17 10:55

    He's confusing context with perspective. His perspective is that Twitter is a source of knowledge. Whereas Twitter operates in the context of communication, pure and simple.

  • Michael - 2012-01-17 11:22

    wake up you moron! Crowd sourcing, which is how Wikipedia is built, is more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica (fact). Fake information DOES NOT SURVIVE ON TWITTER FOR VERY LONG - bull on Twitter is outed very quickly. Mbeki, you're a digitally uneducated dick. Stick to politics. And, btw, when are you going to share all this secret info you claim to have about the arms deal and "what really went on"?

  • Vince.York - 2012-01-17 12:14

    All that education NEARLY TRANSFORMED ABSOLUTELY Thabo? A bit timid now that the time of XhosaNostra plunder has passed by forever as the current ZuluWave of corruption & retribalisation starts to falter in face of the quasi zanu-pf Limpopo crowdzombies that want their turn at whatever scraps they can RIPPP out of the coffers before the media finally outs the lot as criminals fast and furiously via social media?

  • Michele - 2012-01-17 12:27

    Fancy that ! A twit commentating on the pro's and con's of Twitter ? I wish he had been as studious when he decided his AIDS policies as President. Chop

  • Josh - 2012-01-17 12:31

    He basically doesn't not like it because the public dictate what topics are relevant and governments have no control over it. Twitter is every dishonest governments nightmare.

  • Garysyd705 - 2012-01-17 13:50

    T.Mbeki should be in the Hague for the millions who died of HIV genocide he is responsible he is suppose to brigitte man in the government! EVAN Zama and his grade three could see that!

  • Heinrich - 2012-01-17 15:39

    I'm not much of a Mbeki fan, but here I agree with him. Twitter is what it is. A tree full of different birds each putting in a tweet to complete the cocophony. Doesn't matter if it makes sense or not. Mostly insignificant and of no consequence. Just fun for the participants. They can tweet as much as they like up there in the tree, as long as they don't mess in my beer.

  • simphiwe.langa1 - 2012-01-17 18:04

    Okay. How many eggs did he really steal?

  • dr.benway.creations - 2012-01-17 18:56

    Given half the chance they'll most certainly keep the terrible media from telling us those terrible inconvenient "false knowledges" that arise every now and again ... I'm SO sure that the ANC has NO hidden agenda in trying to discredit the media.

  • Chabi - 2012-01-17 19:54

    I like "twitter denialist" comment without the Bloody, very genius of the sub-genius !!!

  • Abram - 2012-01-19 15:13

    Please Thabo Mbeki,If u r the president of the ruling Party u must also be the president of the country.we don't want 2 presidents---- president of the ANC must be the President of the country

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