Concerns over fake news and fake social media accounts in Kenya has resulted in officials taking strong action.
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) is responsible for taking a stance on this, as they regulate social media content in the country. They stand by the notion that all fake names on social media accounts should be banned.
The move can be seen as a stance concerning the upcoming elections on 8 August 2017. A study of the recent US elections showed that substantial amounts of social media content were generated by bots and software.
Nairobi, Kenya, to regulate hate speech
The problem is that hate speech can be easily created through theses technologies, and there is no accountability because they are dealing with ‘bots.’ In 2007, chaos broke out during the Kenyan elections as a result of hate speech – and this was without the presence of social media.
This move by the KFCB is in particular to counter-act trolls and Twitter accounts that spew hatred. There is a trend in African countries when it comes to social media and election times. An apparent effort is made to regulate social media content even on peer to peer platforms such as WhatsApp during election times.
Banning fake user names on Twitter does not necessarily stop anyone from doing so – it is also interesting as to how will it be monitored and how people would be held accountable. Will new ethical regulations be formed? How can they be enforced? The debate continues.