On Thursday last week, the US-based social media giant Twitter, pulled down 3465 accounts belonging to individuals in Uganda, China, Russia, Tanzania, Venezuela and Mexico.
Twitter said the move was to cease state-backed information operations in the countries and in Uganda. Out of these, 418 were Ugandan and were said to have engaged in co-ordinated inauthentic activity affiliated to President Museveni and his ruling party, NRM.
The platform came a day after Facebook shut down over 500 accounts which were part of a China disinformation campaign attached to Covid-19.
Fatboy, whose Facebook account was suspended for 30 days for ‘harassment’ of another user, says that Twitter has always been less censorious as compared to Facebook, but now seems to be taking the same path in the name of hate speech.
“These social media companies don't appreciate that different communities have different tolerance levels whether it’s insults or hash language. I mean some of us are used to abusing each other and if I call someone a gecko and they call me a fool, that's normal. But don't just stoop in and say this is harassment,” he said.
In addition, Olive asked, “This begs the question, are social media companies here to let us have free speech by enjoying these spaces or not? Because sometimes you realise that we are living in communities where we cannot freely speak and express ourselves and social media is the only platform to express ourselves freely,” she said.
“Also how is hate speech defined based on the communities? Because what may be hateful to an American may not be really hateful to me,” she explained.
Fatboy proposed for a more liberal social media that allows users to own their data and friends such that when the account is shut down, the user does not lose their content and friends that they have collected and posted over the years.
“People are saying that the future has to give users a right to see their content or take it to another platform when my account is shut,” he said.
Olive added that the social media platforms should revise their community policies and guidelines to suit certain communities given that different countries have different definitions of hate speech.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, Sarah and Lesham every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.