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Wednesday, 18 October 2023 21:45

Ntshavheni calls on Meta to deal with misinformation & pay African content creators.

Tech Reporter.

Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has challenged tech conglomerate Meta to deal with misinformation and called for fair treatment when dealing with developed and developing countries.

Speaking at the Meta for Government engagement on Wednesday, the Minister decried Meta's platforms that are still flooded with fake news and misinformation. 

The engagement was in partnership with the Presidency and Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), and Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

"Anybody can be a journalist because of the ability of social media to be able to communicate and share information instantly."

The Minister also posed a question to Meta about the perception that accounts of African leaders seem to be easily hacked. 

The challenge, according to the Minister, is for both parties to put systems in place to deal with security concerns.  

"When that information goes out there sometimes you have accounts that are not verified and then spread fake news. 

"The challenge I want to pose to Meta is why do African leaders and leaders in developing countries, in general, have accounts on your platforms that can be hacked, duplicated and used for scams as where leaders from the US or China [have a]  single account.

"I'm still yet to explain to my President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa why there is a fake Cyril Ramaphosa account when he's the only Cyril Ramaphosa in the world," she told attendees.  

She described the situation as an injustice. 

"Other leaders aren't treated the same and therefore fake news can be used through their platforms that are fake and there's no recourse on it. 

"I've also been dealing with a scam that says I'm providing 5GB of free data in the country and people take it seriously and later suffer greater losses," the Minister said. 

She is of the strong view that the tech giant needs to address these issues for the partnership to be more meaningful. 

"How do we deal with fake news if it is not tackled fast enough?"

As the country gears up for national elections next year, Ntshavheni said government needed to engage with various platforms to convey a genuine government message without fear of fake news. 

The Minister also called on Meta to pay African content creators the same as their counterparts across the globe. 

She believes these conversations are necessary to build a relationship between the state and Meta.

"That partnership can only be meaningful and work if we play fair with each other and treat each other as equals. Your ability to make sure that your platforms contribute determines your legacy in the world, "she stressed. 

Meta said it was constantly beefing up its processes to fight fake news and misinformation across its platforms, especially on Facebook.

Compiled by Lehlohonolo Lehana.