Twitter takes down plenty of accounts globally and now it hit South Africa with mass bans and suspensions over the weekend. So far, Twitter didn’t respond to questions about why they banned so many people. As with other countries, a lot of people use the social media platform in protest against perceived injustices. Americans complain that their accounts get taken down for questioning the 2020 elections. But that’s not a huge problem in South Africa, although lots of people slam government policy in South Africa.
Twitter bans and suspensions in South Africa raise questions
Sometimes, the touchy subject about the efficiency or not of COVID-19 vaccinations also arises by African users. But it’s not clear that’s why the suspensions came into effect. Over the weekend the smaller users on Twitter crowed about how the bigger accounts seemed targeted. In fact, they congratulated themselves on getting the #suspended hashtag trending. Some of them complained about the arrogance of the influencers who sometimes diss them for only gaining a handful of followers.
But is censorship a good thing? Especially when the reasons seem rather vague. So, My Broadband reached out to Twitter for comment. But on February 16, they reported that nothing came back from the company. The outlet noted that some people speculated that the reasons might have something to do with people who advertise promos in their profile. Notably, though, the outlet notes that “Twitter does not prohibit influencers from promoting things on the platform.”
— Mr Handsome (@MrHandsome_ZA) February 13, 2021
Spam and platform manipulation in South Africa?
Of course, Twitter doesn’t allow “platform manipulation” or any forms of “spam.” So, that’s one possibility that led to so many bans and suspensions. Of course, the US and India and many people in the UK and Europe complain of political censoring. But again, until Twitter explains why they banned so many users, the chances of others getting taken down remain high.
However, it might become a moot point in the future for cash-strapped South Africans on the platform. Bloomberg reported that Twitter looks for ways to get around relying on advertisers to fund the platform. Some of their suggested changes for 2021 include paying for “exclusive content.” Or paying for features like an unsending option and “profile-customization.”
— knife-edge follower (@elton_newton) February 13, 2021
Twitter never really found the reach of competition like Facebook. In 2017, people talked about the possibility of the platform shutting down. In fact, they really only started taking off when Donald Trump joined the platform. But of course, with him and many of his supporters removed, that gives less reach for advertisers. South Africa might see many more suspensions and bans from Twitter in days to come. Why do you think the country suddenly got targeted? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below.
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