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Cyberbullying headlines Zim-Facebook indaba

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Recurring episodes of hate speech and cyberbullying on Facebook can be eliminated if Zimbabweans report such matters through the various feedback platforms that are offered on the social network, Facebook public policy manager for Africa, Akua Gyekye, has said.

By Tinotenda Munyukwi

Gyekye said this at an online safety roundtable meeting organised by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) in the capital this week and attended by various stakeholders including government, civic society and the media.
She urged the country to utilise feedback tools on the popular social network and report any errant members of society who are abusing the platform to utter hate speech and to undermine the dignity of others.

“There are things that we allow and don’t allow on Facebook. For instance, we do not at all allow hate speech and we need people to report it [hate speech] to us.

“One thing we noticed is that across the region, with Zimbabwe included, people do not report these things to us when they see something that they do not like on Facebook which can be hate speech or nudity.”

Gyekye urged Zimbabweans to be conversant with various standards that make up Facebook policy and use them as a benchmark to
whistle-blow any malpractices by notorious individuals or organisations not adhering to such.

Her calls come at a time when Zimbabwe has crafted the Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Bill awaiting approval that stipulates guidelines to curb various online malpractices which have been registered on social sites with some of them contributing immensely to the perpetration of political hate speech.

Also speaking during the same event was director for policy and e-government in the Ministry of Information and Communication
Technologies, Georgina Chingonzo who urged social media companies to work together with governments in order to craft policies and guidelines that prioritise the protection of the citizens.

“We are open as government and please interact with us so that we improve our policies as a country. We have had various Sadc meetings and we would like you to help us with policies because we are concerned with the [online] safety of our people,” Chingonzo said.

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