Econet Wireless has cleared several unconfirmed rumors where some online publications have been falsely claiming to be getting a direct interface with the group founder and chairman, Dr. Strive Masiyiwa. This comes at a time when the people of Zimbabwe were made to believe that Dr. Strive has ventured into politics through the use of a fake Facebook account under the name Liberty Party.
By Dep. Editor Shingie Lev Muringi
As TechnoMag team, we would like to alert the nation from our previous experiences that, Econet Wireless has a well established communications department where the organization’s superiors use the official communication channels to disseminate information.
Yesterday, Econet distanced Strive Masiyiwa from the fake Facebook Page and other falsely generated social media messages circulating on whatsapp and assured stakeholders that they do not have any links to such malicious information sites.
“All the stakeholders, employees and regulatory authorities are hereby advised that an impostor has opened a Facebook page bearing a picture of our group chairman Mr Strive Masiyiwa, and the name of what seems to be a political party called the Liberty Party.” – read the official statement from Econet Wireless communications department.
“Mr Strive Masiyiwa is not in any way associated with that page, and the account has since been reported to Facebook”.
Technological experts have warned public figures and users in general to be vigilant against accounts that use their images or names as they may be used for sinister activities. Mr Chris Musodza, the Zimbabwe Digital Society of Zimbabwe director, said pretenders who pose as public figures usually have different agendas including fraudulent activities. He also urged the public to only trust accounts verified by social networks.
“People impersonate for different things, especially agenda setting and fraud. In this case Mr Masiyiwa is a known businessman the people behind the account were trying to use his reach to get people to join the page.
“If the people at Econet were not swift to respond to the page, it would not have been surprising if a bogus account number had been placed in an attempt to fleece people of their hard-earned money,” Mr Musodza said.
Mr Masiyiwa becomes the latest public figure in Zimbabwe to become a victim of cyber impersonation. In 2012, musician Willbroad Muponda also known as Willom Tight fell prey to imposters when a dubious page was opened by unknown people without his knowledge, attracting thousands of followers.
Dr. Strive himself even took the matter to his official Facebook page – Strive Masiyiwa where he distanced himself from such unconfirmed publications. All he had to say was ” brand integrity matters!”.
From his official Facebook page, Dr. Strive Masiyiwa clarified the following:
The other day, someone brought me an article from an African Internet newspaper (I won’t mention the name because I don’t want to judge them, only to advise). The newspaper is run by young entrepreneurs who follow this platform. In the edition brought to my attention, they had an article in which they purported to have interviewed me, on the phone, whilst I was “in Denmark.” The interview was a total fabrication, and whilst I have heard that Denmark is a beautiful country, I’ve not yet had an opportunity to visit in my entire life.
This saddened me deeply because of the harm they did to themselves, and the integrity of their brand.
A newspaper, even one on the Internet, is a business. It’s a business whose brand must be based on integrity, because people come to it to be informed about what’s happening. The moment you start writing stories out of your imagination, and print them as true, you’re on your way to practicing the ideology of Joseph Goebbels (Hitler’s minister of propaganda).
Last week I also commented on the practice of setting up fake websites on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other other social websites, pretending to be someone else. In the beginning, it seems to be a bit of harmless fun. This is how most drug addicts began — a “little joint” became heroin…
It’s the same in entrepreneurship: The fake website can lead you to fake credit card identity, and fraud, and fake drugs that kill others… and maybe a very long prison sentence. It’s a slippery slope.
Africa has some of the most gifted musicians and actors in the world. Most of them go unrecognized, and live in poverty. They could be making millions, and standing on the world stage just like the most famous European and American artists. The problem is simple — “pirating” of their material, supported by some of their own fans who happily buy the fake products! This is blatant theft.
__Let’s do our best, every single day, to try and build brand integrity.
We don’t need fake newspaper stories any more than we need fake drugs, fake credit cards, fake DVDs, and fake websites.
The original is always the best, and it has brand integrity.
The battle for relevance continues…follow Shingie Levison Muringi our Technology Research Specialist and Sub Editor on Twitter @ShingieMuringi1, Email [email protected] or direct Cell: 0775 380 652 for all the latest trending technological issues in and outside Zimbabwe.