In a recent interview with BBC Africa local musician, Mukudzeyi Mukombe popularly known as Jah Prayzah was lamenting on how cyberbullying and fake news affects everyone and not just celebrities.
Jah Prayzah has died and risen from the dead a couple of times as he has been reported dead more than once. One then wonders why anyone would create false or malicious content and decided to distribute it. With globalization, it only takes a few minutes before a social media post goes viral.
Cyberbullying is a practice where an individual or group uses the Internet to ridicule, harass or harm another person. Cyberbullying is a prosecutable offense in some nations, but a globally uniform legal approach is yet to be established.
A recent case of cyberbullying is that of Lorraine Guyo. Who simply put up a WhatsApp status which was to be viewed by her contacts and she pulled it down after a few minutes. What came after was a shocker for Lorraine and her loved ones. She woke up to an explicit video circulating all over social media with the woman in the video being alleged to be her.
Seeing my video all over social media didn’t really bother me because it was a joke , but when the videos of a naked girl alleged to be me surfaced that’s when I became stressed.It had gone viral and my reputation was tarnished and had to prove to people that I wasn’t the girl in the video.”Lorraine Guyo
One could then argue that the constant advancement of technology has facilitated ease in receiving and disseminating information. On the other hand, this has also provided an opportunity for some to publish and spread fake news or bully other parties on the world wide web.
Young people constitute the highest percentage of users on social media hence they should be placed at the center of the discussion on fake news and cyberbullying. The Cyber and Cyber Security Bill in Zimbabwe was taken to parliament in 2017 with added provisions.
There have been debates on whether social media can or should be regulated and how to go about it. This is all in a quest to curb the spreading of fake news and cyberbullying. But can social media be regulated and bring forth desirable results? Putting into consideration how so many times the cyberbullies play anonymous and tracking a Twitter thread that had false content is not a walk in the park.
The duty of regulating social media lies on the shoulders of each and everyone in society who uses a smartphone, tablet or iPad and computer. Before you create and share content on the internet make sure it is verified and does not inflict harm in whichever way to any individual. We can all police the world wide web by not sharing fake news.
Fake news has on different occasions raised false alarm, declare different popular people dead. There has also been a growing trend of people forwarding false job vacancies to the dismay of those who would have applied or shown up for auditions.
It could take a while before the government finds the right angle to tackle the issue of cyberbullying and fake news as regulating social media is a task and a half. But ”Let’s use social media responsibly and always consider the damage to the next person before bullying anyone or spreading fake news” as Jah Prayzah said.