Do You Know what is Social Network?

Na, Je Wafahamu Mipaka ya Huduma za Mtandao?

I know a bit of Swahili so I will do my best to keep up with a few sentences here and there just to keep it live, especially when the message is for my fellows from Tanzania around the world.

There has been a buzz going around amongst Tanzanian political leaders whizzing about moral and what is supposed to be posted on the social network at large, and especially from a few celebrities on the rise.

Kumekuwa na matamshi ya picha za utupu, now this on its own is a very gray area, what does utupu really mean in Tanzanian context? Is a bikini considered utupu? a micro miniskirt? or just pure nude? well, I bet you will be confronted with a variety of definitions and answers from anybody you ask, this is mainly based on their understanding, and fueled by who they are talking about.

The latest was a statement from a minister of art who went ahead and said, “Tume mkamata msanii nyota wa Tanzania ‘Diamond’ kwa kosa la kutuma picha zisizo na maadili mtandaoni, pamoja na msanii mwingine Nandi, lazima wafahamu kuwa mtandaoni sio kokoro la kutupa uchafu wao”

Well here is where I see a problem with the whole fiasco and his or the ministerial office understanding on the matter.

Being on the internet does not mean OPEN, there are several services that are on the internet BUT they are Private.

Anything that has REGISTER then log in to use is not OPEN. Users of these services they have to agree on a set of rules, privacy policies and terms of use in order to qualify to use the services. ONLY if they violate these rules and terms they will be denied use of the system.

Anybody who will in one way or another consume content from these services, should have access to the said services and abide by the rules and regulations of the service. Reading content from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc is not open to non-members.

Even within the registered members, you have to FOLLOW or be friends with someone to consume their content.

Hivyo hakuna kitu kama kuvunja maadili mtandaoni tu kwa sababu hazija mpendeza mtu fulani ama muheshimiwa as they call them,  if I am posting content on my account, and the people who have agreed to follow me are using the content.

GOSSIP aka UMBEA

My fellow friends from Tanzania are notorious for gossiping online, they are the best when it comes to scrutinizing somebodies private matters online, they can spread news like wildfire as if they are on commission. This is where the problem begins. This problem has propagated to even the official in high offices, they act very confidently only based on gossip tips if it trends they will trend with it. Wanapiga umbeya kama wanalipwa kwa masaa

They are willing to share photos of dead people, people in an accident, even children doing a different kind of things, it is a pandemic in the society online. For many what matters is somebody gets trashed, taken down, humiliated and shamed. It is sad but that is the reality of things. BECAUSE the inverse if true that, they will not share or spread the news about somebody’s success, or some achievement, or an educative post or something of that nature.

When somebody who uses one system, get an interesting story or a photo of somebody having a good time with the significant other, then they will snap a screenshot, add some comments and then share on a different social network service. That on its own is a breach of privacy and rules of content sharing.

Follow me on these, You read something on Facebook (only registered users can read) you share on Instagram (Only your followers will read, or Instagram registered users) etc. All these services they share a common rule for information sharing. NO CHILD UNDER 13 IS ON THESE networks, or supposed to be. And these services have their international definition of what is considered nude.

When the minister tells the media that inappropriate content has been posted by somebody, the question should be HOW THE HELL DID THE MINISTER GET THE CONTENT? and who actually took the content from the boundaries of the service to the public?

Double Standars
When it comes to online content, it is an ocean to cover, only the trending issues will get condemned, but the rest will continue to soar, this is true even for this issue of maadili mitandaoni. The ministry is focusing only on some individuals and some trending gossip that goes with it, there is no really plan to combat and create an understandable ground rule to guide everybody whether small or big.