Quick question, do you think African leaders have a WhatsApp group where they share terrible ideas?
Like seriously, first it was Tanzania – trying to regulate bloggers, followed Uganda who will now charge tax for social media use because people use it to gossip and now Zambia has announced that soon, WhatsApp group admins and blog owners will be required to register with the government in an effort to curb fake news.
Also, let’s not forget our very own craziness the other day when we got a scare that YouTubers would require to pay for a filming license as well as the a reminder that Kenyan WhatsApp group admins are liable for whatever is posted on the groups, despite the fact that they literally have no control over what group members post since they can’t even delete posts that aren’t their own. Craziness.
Back to Zambia, the government notified its citizens that soon they will be required to register if they are admins on any social media platform, including WhatsApp and Facebook.
Speaking on ZNBC’s Open Line programme, Director of Support Services at Zambia Information & Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), Mofyta Chisala said; “We are coming up with a law where now every administrator must be registered so that he can put ethics or codes of conduct for anyone who is going to be on that blog because at the end of the day, we are going to arrest that person who created the WhatsApp group or the editor or coordinator of the blog and that should not be the end game.”
As expected, Zambians are not receiving this news with a bouquet of flowers. The move has been termed as an attempt by the government to avoid criticism on social media and a threat to freedom of speech and expression.
As scary and frustrating as these new regulations are for Zambians, it’s virtually impossible for the government to snoop on WhatsApp messages let alone groups since WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption – well, unless someone snitches.
Also, as TechZim puts it, Zambia is just not that technologically advanced to have an effective proper surveillance system. But still, why do they feel the need to have such regulations?