Interview: “Social Media Users Should Be Responsible”

Calistus Tandong Jong, Development Expert and Co-Chair Young Green Africa, talks on abuse of social media.

Should irresponsible use of the social media be sanctioned? I would say no. Let me support the answer. What is irresponsible use of social media depends on the view point of the user. The government may call it irresponsible use of social media while the people will call it responsible use of social media. So it depends on the perspective from which one is looking at it. It also depends on whose interest the social media is protecting because for instance, around the world, social media has become one of the most powerful advocacy platforms that have to send out information the way it is.

In our rural areas almost everybody has access to mobile phones. Out of about 100 people with mobile phones, at least 75 of them have smart phones which mean that it eases the social media communication and information sharing.  What is irresponsible use of social media? Governments are not in support of advocacy and most people are using the social media in promoting advocacy maybe of the ill treatment of the people at the community level, country or in the world at large.

In the other hand, users of social media should be responsible. I think people should make the best out of the social media because there are lots of advantages linked to the use of the social media. When you look at the economic transformation in Africa now, it’s thanks to the social media. The E-business available even in Africa now is thanks to the social media. That we no longer spend much on communication is thanks to the social media which is very cheap. It would also urge users of social media to be responsible in terms of abuses of individuals and institutions.

The use of the social media in promoting violence should also be avoided. In that case, i think those using the social media networks to promote hate and violence should be sanctioned according to the laws in force. I think if social media is used in terms of promoting nation building and economic growth, I think we would move forward.

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