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ACM Opinion

Social Media Cos. Help African Governments Abuse 'Disinformation Laws'

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Illustration shows a person being silenced

Most laws enacted by governments on the continent that ostensibly seek to regulate harms, like disinformation and online violence, end up targeting legitimate online speech instead.

Credit: Ariel Davis/Rest of World

Internet users are caught between governments' efforts to regulate online harms and social media platforms, which alternate between ignoring the problem and launching broad crackdowns on user speech. Accountability challenges persist across both contexts. While these challenges are common around the world, both governments and social media platforms face peculiar regulatory challenges in the African context.

The lack of accountability by social media platforms continues to embolden African governments to harm Africa's developing democracies. The measures that will prevent online harms in Africa must be designed beyond traditional governance roles and respect human rights in their processes.

From Rest of the World
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