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#DeleteFacebook gets a thumbs-down from South Africans

29 March 2018 - 06:00 By Nivashni Nair
A man is silhouetted against a video screen with the Facebook logo.
A man is silhouetted against a video screen with the Facebook logo.

Will you #DeleteFacebook? South African social media analysts don't think so.

"South Africans are incredibly accommodating and have a very high tolerance threshold when we are hard done by. We have tacitly accepted incredibly brazen acts of crookedness and corruption with humour‚" explained National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (Nemisa) KZN e-Skills Colab director Dr Surendra Thakur.

Thakur was responding to the call to ditch the social media site after the data of 50 million Facebook users was collected by creating a personality quiz taken by a few hundred-thousand people.

Without their knowledge or consent‚ users allowed the app to collect information on their Facebook friends. The data was then passed onto Cambridge Analytica‚ to influence Donald Trump’s election campaign.

Thakur said the Facebook/Analytica scandal was a little-removed from South Africa.

"Also‚ remember that a particular generation of folk use Facebook. This is all they know and have‚ and possibly even need‚ on the social media platforms.

"So Facebook will survive this in South Africa and indeed the world. The good news is that there will be a dramatic improvement in privacy laws over this‚" he said.

Social media analysts Yavi Madurai said it was too early to tell if South Africans would give up Facebook.

"Critical thinking becomes crucial to this conversation‚ because if you can’t be influenced‚ then all of this does not matter. South Africans are late adopters‚ and as the rest of the world starts to delete Facebook accounts‚ so will South Africans‚ but not now‚ true to our culture.

"Remember though‚ that Instagram and WhatsApp are also subsidiaries of Facebook‚ and can we leave Twitter or Snapchat out of the conversation about harvesting of our data‚ for manipulation purposes?" she asked.

Facebook says it'll give users more control of their data in the wake of a huge scandal over data privacy that has hammered its stock.