Social media in SA could be regulated

The regulation of social media, in light of issues including the spread of fake news and scams, is being considered, says Minister of State Security David Mahlobo.

Mahlobo also said attempts at regime change in South Africa are happening – as in other countries.

He was speaking on Sunday during a question and answer session with journalists following a press briefing by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) brief.

Mahlobo first touched on terrorism, saying that South Africa was not an exception when it came to being a target of terrorists. He then went on to say: “Attempts at regime change are happening. We know who does what.”

Mahlobo said counter-intelligence was dealing with this. “We do that work quietly because at the end of the day South Africa should never be a failed state. Our duty is to protect its sovereignty”.

A statement said that no country in the world was immune to the threat of terrorism. “The JCPS Cluster, through its law enforcement agencies, continues to identify and address violent extremism and terrorism-related activities,” it said.

“We are committed to ensure that our country remains relatively safe and free of any attempts to destabilise it. Joint operations of all intelligence community structures will continue as well as the sharing of information critical to countering any threats that is identified.”

Mahlobo, responding to a question by a reporter about fake news, said aside from being used for what it was meant for, social media was being abused to, among other things, peddle false information. He said this was not unique to South Africa either.

“We are contemplating to regulate the space. Even the best democracies that are revered, they regulate the space,” Mahlobo said. He understood that this would not be an easy thing to do and could be seen to be “interfering with human rights”.

It would therefore need to be discussed with various bodies and forums. “We will be discussing how do we regulate it,” Mahlobo said.

Aside from people misrepresenting themselves on social media, or even purporting to be others, he said problems included photographs being set up to depict fake scenes. Photoshopping images was also an issue. – News24

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