Your messages can be tracked, Zim minister warns social media users

2016-07-19 15:01
President Robert Mugabe. (File, AFP)

President Robert Mugabe. (File, AFP)

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Harare - Zimbabwe's IT minister has told the country's social media users that their phones can be tracked if they spread messages that President Robert Mugabe's government deems abusive.

In what appeared to be a veiled threat to supporters of popular Pastor Evan Mawarire, Supa Mandiwanzira told StarFM radio on Monday night: "People must not hide behind technology and think they are smart."

While insisting that Mugabe's government had "no immediate intention" to regulate social media, the minister said: "Messages can be tracked back to the phone you use."

Frustration is on the rise in Zimbabwe where an economic crisis is deepening, three years after Mugabe, now 92, was re-elected to power.

Pastor Mawarire's #ThisFlag movement has used social media to spread its call for the government to answer to charges of corruption and mismanagement.
The authorities accuse #ThisFlag supporters of fomenting violence, alleging that messages giving instructions on how to make a petrol bomb were circulated in the run-up to a widely-followed nationwide shutdown on July 6.

WhatsApp, which uses end-to-end encryption, is by far the most popular social media platform in Zimbabwe.

Mandiwanzira, a former journalist, also encouraged Zimbabweans to "report to the police" any messages that could be deemed abusive. His definition of abuse included the distribution of nudes and child porn, as well as "things that incite violence".

Read more on:    #thisflag  |  robert mugabe  |  evan mawarire  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe protests

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