by DION HENRICK
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa’s main opposition says its request for Facebook to account for its alleged role in misinformation and the protection of the privacy of local users is not an attempt to hinder freedom of expression.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is requesting that the local entity of the giant United States-headquartered social media company be summoned to Parliament to answer to the allegations.
DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies, Phumzile Van Damme, said the reason for summoning Facebook – which has an office in Johannesburg – was with the view of ascertaining what steps the tech firm would be taking in tackling harmful misinformation.
She said the spread of COVID-related misinformation primarily through Facebook and WhatsApp – a company owned by Facebook – highlighted the need for Parliament to take an active role in curbing misinformation.
“However, the aim of questioning Facebook should be to ensure that the interests of the people of South Africa are protected and not an attempt to exert control or limit freedom of expression,” Van Damme said.
South Africa is hailed as a beacon of democracy in the continent.
– CAJ News