MDC orders WhatsApp group shutdown

2015-02-07 12:26
A MDC supporter holds up his red card in support of MDC's President Morgan Tsvangirai during the last campaign rally in Harare. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

A MDC supporter holds up his red card in support of MDC's President Morgan Tsvangirai during the last campaign rally in Harare. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

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Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's main opposition party has ordered its members to shut down groups on the social messaging platform WhatsApp, to stop the spread of lies, an official said on Friday.

Some Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members were accused of using the groups to spread lies and hate speech, the party's secretary general Douglas Mwonzora said, a Sapa correspondent reported.

"What the president has directed is that we shut down the social media groups first and then those who want to open them will then open them subject to certain rules that we are going to give them," Mwonzora said.

"There is no need to use social media to divide the party, to engage in hate language," he said.

A document purporting to come from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's office was circulated on social media earlier on Friday.

"I issue the following order: Any WhatsApp group administered by anyone who is an MDC member, without exception, be shut down with immediate effect," it read.

Twitter users criticised the move as petty and unnecessary.

Mwonzora said that last week a "false" story was spread on WhatsApp about a challenge to Tsvangirai from senior party officials.

"It is not part of freedom of expression to spread falsehoods or engage in hate language," he said.

Read more on:    whatsapp  |  zimbabwe  |  social networks  |  southern africa

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