SAHRC concerned about Facebook, Twitter

2011-08-30 07:25

Cape Town - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) expressed concern about the unregulated nature of communication activity on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others.

Commission chair Lawrence Mushwana said in a statement the current environment where there were no regulatory mechanisms to fully subject, among others, user-registration to the relevant legislative provisions, had resulted in users of these sites engaging in acts of hate speech or other human rights violations.

It was an established fact that some of the users used fictitious personal details to create profiles and this made them untraceable in cases when they needed to be located to account for their conduct.

Mushwana's concern followed the Hawks' announcement that they had launched an investigation after the Sunday Times published a Facebook image of a "white man with a rifle posing over what appears to be a lifeless body of a black child like a hunter celebrating his kill".

The Hawks indicated they were searching for the person or persons responsible for the photo, whoever created the user-profile, and for those "who had seen the photograph but never reported it to the relevant authorities".

The commission had had the experience of being unable to proceed in resolving complaints against the conduct of certain individuals on these sites as a result of their untraceability and had to eventually close the complaint files.

Even though the commission had previously engaged with experts to seek solutions on this problem, it believed this was not just a local problem, but an international one that required global discussions and solutions.

Mushwana said even though there was no doubt that social networking sites played an important role in promoting the right of freedom of expression it was clear that practical ways should be found to ensure they were used appropriately.

  • Whistleblower - 2011-08-30 07:37

    This is really simple, if you cannot control it ... it is bad.

      cerveza - 2011-08-30 07:46

      @whistleblower - who is controlling you, or are you bad? In Europe many human rights groups are calling for less control and are concerned with government meddling with freedom on the internet.

      daaivark - 2011-08-30 07:51

      Oh what utter crap, Whistleblower. Since when is "control" the arbiter of good and bad? Attitudes like yours make me want to go back and break out my punk regalia, dye my mohawk maroon and wave a middle finger at you.

      Risen Ape - 2011-08-30 07:55

      Censorship laws will eventually be implemented in this country. It's inevitable.

      DoublySalmon - 2011-08-30 08:26

      "who had seen the photograph but never reported it to the relevant authorities". I tried reporting a home invastion to the cops, I called them, called them again, called again and told them to come help! Afterwards I went to the cops physcially, to the police station. It took 2 hours to comminucate with an illiterate officer and I almost got locked up (officer decided I had to be a racist). My words to the officer was "At 19:05 the window was broken", she writes down 20:30.. I ask. What did I just say? She says 19:05. I ask what did you write down? She tells me I'm a racist. This occured after she tried writing her own story several times and I just nicely corrected her. So how would someone report a faked picture to the cops? I'd call cops, they tell me I'm a racist, arrest me for looking at the picture.. After that last incident at the police station I stopped reporting anything stolen from house, I don't trust the cops. There were 3 thefts from my house that I didn't report. Just look at the news, cops are racist and carry guns. Stay far away from them. I should note after I made my case at the station I identified the criminals (investigated myself) told them where to arrest them.. the cops didn't do anything.. The cops also told me to catch them myself and to beat them up so they don't come back..

      laties - 2011-08-30 08:36

      And who controls the controller?

      shmangle - 2011-08-30 08:37

      Yes, censorship is one the way..... Way to go ANC, you swapped one anti-democratic government for another. You are becoming what you hated.

      Risen Ape - 2011-08-30 08:56

      @ DoublySalmon I had exactly the same experience as you. I've actually walked out of the charge office on one occasion because I couldn't handle their incompetence. It's beyond belief.

      Jakes4 - 2011-08-30 09:18

      We are not robots. Stop trying to control everything we do. Control freaks are trying to force society to conform to what they think is right. If you are delusional enough to think everyone wants to live your mediocre lacking life you need help.

      Met - 2011-08-30 09:53

      Nationalize them!

  • Sinudeity - 2011-08-30 07:42

    Thats what makes these social mediums so awesome. Its unregulated.

      Shadoz - 2011-08-30 16:13

      and if they try regulate one we will just open another and another and another.

  • iDubula - 2011-08-30 07:43

    Eish we are going to close down Twitter and Facebook...

      RonJeremy - 2011-08-30 07:47

      If you intend to close down the things that you say don't work, then you need to start with the ANCYL cause they're as disfunctional as they come ...

  • choppadrivah - 2011-08-30 07:50

    I wonder what they are afraid of?

      Valis - 2011-08-30 09:34

      The truth.

  • Ndlovu - 2011-08-30 07:52

    who fears "whistleblowers"... who fears the very smal amount of foulish people who have nothing than hate-speach..? If you have nothing bad to hide.. ignore them.. its so easy! Or do you fear, Mushwana, that someone brings some "uncomfortable" truth to the light???

      Agent Bastad - 2011-09-15 09:09

      Oom olifant, jou reuse dier.

  • The Hock - 2011-08-30 07:53

    Government doesn't have to regulate everything for goodness sake! I for one don't want every aspect of my life controlled by 'elected officials' hiding behind 'the greater good'.

  • BraBob - 2011-08-30 08:02

    Unregulated? Just anther big shot with nothing better to say!!! Our ANC Youth League Leader can say "Shoot the Boer" in public. Is that regulated? Why not rather speak out against crime or unemployment. Seems like the government cannot do anything about that too

      DoublySalmon - 2011-08-30 08:27

      So true.

  • Welleducated - 2011-08-30 08:04

    "engaging in acts of hate speech or other human rights violations" - unfortunately the ANC and ANCYL engage in this all the time woithout facebook or twitter. At least people can express their unhappiness on sites like this against governments that try to cover up!!

  • Martin - 2011-08-30 08:05

    This is undercover, private communication where nasty individuals get the opportunity to vent their spleens, no matter how radical, unacceptable, rascist or disgusting it may be. I dont like it either. I struggle to make a judgement when considering freedom of speech rights etc etc. Tell you what. Work on some of our leaders calling for machine guns ( to shoot / kill who ), those who want to shoot us and accuse all whites of being thieves and such hate speech ( can't call it loving ) in public and you as an organisation will go a long way in demonstrating acceptable behaviour !!!

  • Sarel - 2011-08-30 08:07

    It seems to me this so-called Huma Rights commision think they are a godly institution and have the right to tell people how they must behave and hat they are allowed to think and say!I have news for them! You will never stop the hatered between black and white! Your Malema must know that whites can hate blacks just as much as he hates the whites! Eventually the outbreak will follow! You can force your laws on whites only to a certain extend! You see the evidence of this on these sites and you will NEVER be able to stop it,because God created different nations,not to be brothers EVER! Sarel Pretorius

      Kiepies - 2011-08-30 10:13

      I have tried calling the so-called HRC and even sent them e-mails - needless to say, phone just rang and e-mails remained unanswered, was it because I am white?

  • CaptainK - 2011-08-30 08:07

    Now, I am anxiously waiting for the announcement from Hawks that they will be searching for the people who spew racist dialogue on Facebook with dire threats, toward white people in this country? I mean, surely whites also deserve the Hawks protection against open racist threats and comments made on FB? There's no money to prosecute a corrupt politician like Malema, but there's capital available to investigate, find and bring to justice an individual, his so-called accomplice who took the picture...and everyone who has seen the picture and failed to report it?? This picture was news 3 years ago and the person who created that profile did it so long ago, yet they wanna go find him or her now? NEWSFLASH!!!! FB has mechanisms in place to handle this. You see a picture that offends you, click report, it gets investigated within a day and removed... more efficiant than any single government department in our, yes OUR, country! I am a white Afrikaans-speaking South African and proud of that fact! Okay, now waiting for "Hoi-poloya-plonkie" and his Mates to post some more miss-spelt racist garbage in reply...? Haha!

  • Skeletor - 2011-08-30 08:08

    Yeah... I would love for the SAHRC to tell us how you regulate something like Facebook that has millions of users worldwide.

      terry - 2011-08-30 09:00

      It's actually quite simple really - they could just do what the Chinese do and block it.

      terry - 2011-08-30 09:03

      Not that I am suggesting that I want it to be blocked - but you ask how they could regulate something like facebook. In China it doesn't work because the government there has blocked it. I could see our government doing something similar - particularly if it starts to get used for anti-government communication.

  • Sage - 2011-08-30 08:11

    SAHRC, a government funded mouth piece. Suggesting regulation of social media, thinly veiled, as a human right consideration is simply another devious way the regime wants to restrict access, by the media and citizens of the country, to their corrupt, theiving and (undue) self enriching shenanigans.

      Sarel - 2011-08-30 08:21

      I whish we had more people like you Sage! It is time that the white with Nation Proud begin to stand together against these thugs!

  • GT - 2011-08-30 08:13

    How ironic that a HUMAN RIGHTS organisation is concerned that free speech is too free for their liking. These fekking quango operations actually offer us very little except for employing the know-nothing BA graduates who would otherwise be selling wors rolls at club rugby games.

      Kiepies - 2011-08-30 10:14

      Soos die ou mense sĂȘ SO'N BEK MOET JAM KRY!!

  • kingkong - 2011-08-30 08:21

    he was useless as the public protector and once again he has proven that he is good for nothing probe racist malema for the statements he meade and for once stand up and be counted or are u afraid that the same thing that happened in egypt and lybia will happen here

  • Uzziel - 2011-08-30 08:23

    When the Protection of Information Act comes into effect Facebook, Twitter etc. will be the states biggest headache. They will try and control all information, perhaps even ban the use of Blackberry Messenger, What's App etc. so that there is no direct way to communicate with people in other countries without it being regulated. We have seen that happen in the Middle East before. So if they can find an excuse to regulate, control, monitor, call it what you want, all information that is passed around in and out of SA they will do it. And if you think your right to free speech, right of association, etc. will stop them, think again.

  • haha - 2011-08-30 08:23

    Malema is probaly going to try and "nationalise" facebook and twitter.

  • Barry Moyle - 2011-08-30 08:23

    Instead of trying to control everything, perhaps the authorities should just concentrate on doing their work, eradicating corruption in government, building infrastructure, securing our borders, stopping the genocide against our farmers and others & bringing criminals to justice. SAHRC - Grow up, freedom of speech means people can say anything, even if if you do not agree with it.

  • Megan - 2011-08-30 08:25

    Along with freedom of speech and expression on a social networking site comes the freedom to view whatever you want. Therefore, if you have befriended someone on something like Facebook who seems all to happy to spread hatred at particular groups then you have the choice to remove them and have no further contact with them. It's what being an adult is all about, the freedom to choose. Short of blocking internet connections to all South Africans, there is pretty much nothing that can be done about it. Because even the most illiterate ANCYL supporter would not want to see his/her facebook page shut down. Another point to bring up... Times are changing, the way we communicate is changing and while there are so many changes that I disagree with and can't seem to understand how other people can't see how some of these changes are not good for society, it's inevitable and like so many other things in nature, adapt or suffer.

      DoublySalmon - 2011-08-30 10:00

      btw people google tor project and spambox.

  • witboy - 2011-08-30 08:29

    It seems the news we recieve from these sources is much better than the sabc reports(propaganda)

      Robbie - 2011-08-30 09:04

      This mornings coverage of Malema at Lethuli house is a case in point... seems like the SABC are backing him!

  • Moi1980 - 2011-08-30 08:31

    Seriously, do they have nothing better to do with their time? Yes, the picture and probably the content on the individual's page was extremely offensive, so yes, find him and fine him/charge him, whatever needs to be done. But to now want to "regulate" "censor" everyone for the actions of a few idiots, where does that make sense? Majority of people using social sites are quite able to conduct themselves properly without any assistance.

  • jen - 2011-08-30 08:33

    White FB users will not be the only ones restricted by clamping down on freedom of expression. The media should stop trying to cause inter-racial hatred by publishing this sort of thing without checking the background facts. This particular photo first reared its head THREE years ago. Are we to go through this exact discussion every three years, like Groundhog Day? Really am getting tired of our sensationalist media. You are your own worst enemies.

  • bekommerdeouers - 2011-08-30 08:33

    Herding cats?

  • meeeee - 2011-08-30 08:36

    oh well if they ban facebook,twitter for South African users, developers here will just create something just like it as simple as that

  • Doug - 2011-08-30 08:46

    Thank God 4 Wikileaks, Facebook & Twitter.

  • Rob Gunning - 2011-08-30 08:48

    So it's okay if it exists, just no-one must talk about it?? That's some pretty backward thinking. People, say what you whenever you want!!

  • notausername - 2011-08-30 08:51

    this is way too funny for words... you think you can control the world? it's a two way street, as much as I detest racism, bottom line, it is freedom of speech. personally I am glad that I have freedom of choice and can make my own mind up about what I think, do, say, act. as well as make up my own mind about what other people think, do, say and act we are not a communist society, stop living living like we are and wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Bismuth - 2011-08-30 08:51

    lol, like Facebook, Twitter and the likes are going to listen to some arbitrary organisation in South Africa.....

  • TumaK - 2011-08-30 08:55

    Fact is that none of the TwitFace sites are subject to SA law as they are not hosted in SA. Good luck for the ANC to try and tell them what to allow/disallow...

  • Dragon - 2011-08-30 08:56

    Why don't the authorities make us "RICA" our profiles? There's control.

  • Robbie - 2011-08-30 09:01

    Welcome to the Cyber Century!

  • Harold - 2011-08-30 09:08

    Sod off you facists - it's where people will have their say and be sanctioned by others.

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-08-30 09:17

    They need to talk to Facebook and Twitter, not South Africans. Facebook and Twitter has technological benefits. You can't trow an entire basket of apples away because of one bad apple.

  • Badballie - 2011-08-30 09:41

    South African Mind Police?? what a joke, anyone in authority who thinks they can dictate what we say of feel better stock up on body bags they gonna need them, same as the "information act" just cause you ban it don't mean we aint gonna go ahead and do it anyway you fools.

  • James - 2011-08-30 09:58

    Um if you can control it then its not freedom of speech. Morons. How is it a good thing to regulate what people say. Sounds like communism.

  • Jonathan - 2011-08-30 10:30

    Well, might as well shut down all access to the Internet for South Africa then...

  • Fred - 2011-08-30 11:21

    Why don't the human rights crowd report on human rights violations, like sports quota's, AA, BEE, any law that demands that a certain race group must be favoured over another race group is a human rights violation, leave the innocent, tax paying facebook clients alone and do your fcking job.

  • AllHoliday - 2011-08-30 15:35

    Why bother with 'unregulated sites' when you cannot even regulate persons on the street, who you know where they are and who they are!

  • Agent Bastad - 2011-09-15 09:08

    I smell a fat Julius-shaped rat in the SAHRC...

  • Darwinian - 2011-09-29 10:06

    For all the current injustices(xenophobia, minority genocide, ramped rape figures, polarization , justified hate speech, inequity, failed education etc) I must say that the SAHRC silence is deafening. Just another farce of an organization to do the cANCer dance...

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