Intricate plans are being worked on in Zimbabwe to permanently ban Western social media platforms are currently being undertaken in Zimbabwe.

A reaction to the massive abuse of social media by Zimbabweans both in and outside the country, this overhaul will completely transform the way in which Zimbabweans interact with each other and the rest of the world.

There are two processes currently running in tandem.

The first is that, with the blocking of the social media sites currently underway as I write this, the blocked social media sites are being combed methodically in order to for government to put together a comprehensive list of the "radical terrorist" network they say was active on Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp and other platforms.

Timelines and walls are being examined, using a sophisticated algorithm which triggers specific words and phrases. The flagged walls and timelines will then be queued for physical examination.

These social media networks will very soon have to make a choice: to cooperate with authorities in Zimbabwe in unmasking ghost accounts used for "abusive behaviour and inciting violence" or be permanently blocked/banned in the country.

A senior government source tells me: "It is standard practice even in the USA. When crimes are committed, authorities can approach the courts to get an order to identify criminals on social media in order to hold them accountable. If a social media network is operating in a sovereign country, whose laws govern them? If they are governed by a foreign law and they are not accountable to the sovereign country's laws, this compromises national security. They can even be used by foreign hostile powers to compromise a sovereign nation. If you go to the aggressor nation's courts, you will not get a hearing, you will not be heard and the foreign court will almost certainly rule against you."

This has led government in Zimbabwe to frantically rework the online internet connectivity matrix.

Here is where the seismic shift will now occur.

Let us hope I do get into trouble for this:

But it has to be said. Impeccable sources tell me China is likely going to be biggest beneficiary of all of this and it is their model which will be followed.

China has banned a host of sites, going beyond social media, but Zimbabwe is at the moment at an advanced stage of looking just at the social media space.

Youku replaces Youtube in China (Youtube is banned in China), Wechat replaces Whatsapp. `Then there is Weibo and others.

China has perfected the art of tight control over social media and other undesirable sites within their territory and this route is what Zimbabwe is currently implementing. China actively and routinely deletes undesirable posts within seconds. These, for example, may include unflattering posts about their leaders of their wives (as happened a while back with posts about the wife of the current Chinese President).

I put the question to my source that this could be ab opportunity to develop our own homegrown social media networks, like China did. It will spur tech entrepreneurs and help grow the digital economy. 

The immediate answer was Zimbabwe's population is not big enough, for start. But more importantly: "Any locally developed platform can never be trusted. It can be compromised or it can easily morph into a reflection of the political inclinations of the local owners. China's platforms are tried and tested. They are strong and practically impregnable. They are are designed to react quickly to any breach by malcontents. It's the best option at the moment."

The question now remains: once Zimbabwe takes this leap, how long before other African countries follow suit in order to "safeguard our sovereignty"?

I'll probably do a longer post later on explaining in greater detail just exactly what else is going with this once I have verified a few more facts.


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