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Social Media, a conduit for abuse

Tameka now suffers from acute depression after her fiancé exposed her sexually explicit pictures on the social media. The 25 year old college graduate regrets the ‘moments of madness’ which have to date affected her family relations and social life.

‘’l am devastated. Regardless of my efforts to make amends and prove that the pictures are not a true reflection of my behaviour. Society has ridiculed and labelled me. Maybe l deserve it given the conservative and highly regarded family l belong. Honestly, my life will never be the same again as this encounter will haunt me forever’’, an emotionally charged Tameka narrated.

Many victims fall prey to this modern form of abuse. Sadly, the legal system leaves the perpetrators scot-free whilst the victims are confined to an emotional prison. To that end, experts now advocate and lobby the government for legislation in that regard.

Media personality Lazarus Sauti says while social media abuse is increasing, it is difficult to control.

“What victims can do is to report perpetrators to the police but the problem is that the perpetrators are faceless’’, Sauti said.

Social media abuse is rampant in the country and the responsible authorities have to establish strict controls as it has been a vehicle for revenge and immorality.

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Sharing the same views, a local pastor who requested anonymity, urged government to pay serious attention to this form of abuse insisting that the social fabric is at threat.

‘’Whilst the country is adopting new information and communication technology and positioning us into the global village, we need  to ensure that we use it properly and avoid using it as a conduit for abuse’ ’he said testifying the rampant social media cases. The pastor said he has shocking statistics among his congregants who often come for counselling.

‘’Tameka’s dilemma is not an isolated incident as my ministry is seized with the same as the victims come for counselling. In some cases some of the victims attempt suicide’’, he said adding that Social media platforms chiefly Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, have redefined modern communication. Corporates now have Facebook pages which have minimised their advertising costs.

Tariro Karimakwenda, an information technology expert, said it is imperative that the government establish an information and technology policy which guards against abuse whilst consolidating on the gains derived by various social media platforms.

‘’The process demands an aggressive approach by the government who through the  parent ministry engage various stakeholders like mobile service providers, internet service providers and experts and formulate an ICT policy which will safeguard the benefits and eliminating the demerits’’, she noted.

However, Mafukidze, a business personality, affirmed that his business boomed because of the social media platforms hence the need to strike a balance in establishing controls and maximising on the benefits.

‘’No doubt the benefits to us in business are overwhelming however it is imperative that we protect victims as social media has massive reach’’Mafukidze said.

Information, Communication and Courier Services Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira says despite pressure from local firms to ban social media government will instead seek to protect the facility from abusers.

‘’Social media must be protected and its use must be encouraged but for it to remain a respectable platform it must be protected from those who abuse it and we must find ways of stopping that abuse or protecting the integrity of social media’’, he said.

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