Social media is the new hideout for black market operations in Zimbabwe
While the government has
brutally successfully managed to remove people who were involved in black market activities such as vending, money changing and fuel selling, their activities have not stopped. Many dealers have taken their activities to social media which has since acted as a sanctuary for both suppliers and clients.
Whatsapp is on top of the list as people create and join specialized groups to either supply or get access to controlled services and products. Some of the groups that have flooded this platform are: groups for fuel access, groups for cooking oil and groups for money exchange. This seem to work even much better for those who supply the products and services as it seems more complicated to catch them red handed.
Can social media black market operations be controlled?
Definitely the authorities are concerned whether they can be able to still contain the situation that evacuated the streets of cities and towns to the "streets" of social media. Well, I think this can be done, although it is not going to be easy to implement. A few months ago, the Zambian government issued a statement on how they intended to hold group administrators responsible for the content that circulates in groups that they are administrators. They were saying that the admins could be persecuted and even face the wrath of the law for allowing harmful information and operations in their groups.
A few months ago, we also heard some government officials in Zimbabwe, citing out the need for social media cases to do with fake news and so on to be treated as criminal cases. Again, the group administrators face the wrath of the law. So yes I think if the government takes this stance, social media based black market operations can be controlled but not eliminated.
Is it feasible for government to control social media?
May be I must start by defining my meaning of "feasible" here. By feasible, I mean if it is practical, attainable, sensible or reasonable. Well, from this definition then, controlling of social media groups is not feasible. The government must not control the lives of their citizens like that. Some things cannot be controlled and are we not a civilized country? Our government does not have the technical stamina to implement this type of control as a result the efforts may end up becoming too physical.
Group Administrators have a responsibility
The role of a group administrator, whether on Facebook or on Whatsapp is a mammoth task that requires one to be vigilant. The group administrator has two or three bigger powers that can keep him/her in control of the operations of the group:
- She/he can add or remove members.
- She/he can delete added content.
- She/he can set rules for the group.
- She/he can edit or change the subject or purpose of the group.
So judging from the four powers above, surely to a greater extent, a group administrator has much control on the direction, the members and the content of the group. So group administrators must continuously check to ensure that no one through the purpose of the group to the bins and sent administrators to prison.
This is an opinion and you are welcome to comment what you think or write a fine tuned article that we can post for you.