Radebe voices concern about abuse of social media

10 March 2016 - 21:50 By TMG Digital

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe on Thursday voiced his concern about the abuse of social media platforms by some people to “advance their malicious ends”.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. File photo.
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times

Speaking in Cape Town at the launch of the Press Club of South Africa‚ Radebe said it was notable that the media and communication industry had been among the first to embrace the digital revolution to improve interaction and obtain often real-time feedback from the various audiences through social media.

“Yet it is prudent that we inhabit this digital space with an open and critical mind‚ otherwise we will very easily find ourselves trapped in a spiral of unintended consequences associated with untried and tested communication platforms‚ like the plethora of social media channels that inhabit this digital terrain.

“Unlike traditional media‚ this new media suffers from a lack of quality assurance standards. It doesn’t have an editor to select on your behalf. It is not designed to overcome bias.

It doesn’t even have to verify its sources. Essentially everyone with a smart phone is a conveyor of perspectives and information unfortunately without the benefit of the trained mind of a professional journalist‚” Radebe said.

“Therefore it’s not surprising that one of the prominent weaknesses of the new media is the extent to which some characters can abuse these platforms to advance their malicious ends.

“A case in point is the proliferation of hate speech and offensive content that sometimes threatens the very fabric of our rights-based‚ non-racial‚ non-sexist and democratic society‚ as we saw earlier this year‚” Radebe added.

Still‚ for all its shortcomings‚ he said‚ the digital revolution was undisputedly part of the future and‚ with some better management‚ the benefits would surely outweigh the losses.