Cyberbullying: A wave of social and psychological abuse in South Africa

The advents of the Information and Communication Technologies and their implication on different spheres of human lives have been the topic of debate for decades. Such narratives have been echoing in academia, government, business, civic, politics and media corridors worldwide. The common theme for such debate centres around finding answers to how the aforementioned bodies can keep up with the rapidly evolving new media and its inevitable influence on human communication.

It is true that the new media enables commercial institutions to become efficient with little cost implications on marketing communication, on one hand. And on the other hand, social media serves as a vehicle for citizen journalism and public participation in South Africa. But the abuse of such applications at the grassroots has become a death poll and a new order of perpetuated societal and psychological abuse, globally. This abuse is obliviously committed and exerted as jests but with devastating social trauma.

South Africa has recently hit by a huge wave of social media bullying_ the act usually referred to as cyber bullying. In simple terms, cyberbullying is an act where a perpetrator uses digital media to harass, mock and victimise another person. Cyberbullying similar to sexting remains a global social issue with fatal implications on the society, especially teenagers and youth. This is the group, academically referred to as Millennials- the born during the internet era.

The perpetuated abuse of the autonomy of social media also gained attention from the South African government through the ministry of state security headed by Minister David Mahlobo. The state security ministry has been reportedly considering possible ways to regulate social media in South Africa, as it is believed to be spreading fake news and scams. Mahlobo’s assertion received a great criticism and ridiculed as another government’s step towards dictatorship and an attempt to censor freedom of speech.

The criticism might have been relevant in the proposed context, but with continues cyberbullying activities trending on most South African linked social media platforms; the agent call for social media regulation seems to be a necessity and a state of emergency.  However, the anonymity feature of social media interface poses difficulties on the effective regulation and the criminalisation of cyberbullying.

This is a harsh reality of social media that the South African government and the universe have to face. Taking into account the permissibility of anonymity and no cap of the creation of multiple accounts makes the quenching of the spreading of cyberbullying impossible, if not a long battle to concur.

Moreover, social media allows users to create unlimited accounts with no obligations to use genuine identity. Some users might be tempted to clone another person’s account by using real person’s name and picture. Thus, the complications of social media freedom of use might result in fewer cybercrimes accounted for and punished.

To make reference, the recent #Sesuthu video which roared through most South African social media platforms, especially Facebook and Twitter hashtags demonstrated the pervasiveness of cyberbullying act in South Africa. Though some participants might have ignorantly indulged in the excise as a means of entertainment and the spreading of social media grapevine, but the impact on the victim may only be imagined as traumatic.

Therefore, regulating social media in South Africa will require a well-defined Act of law which can give clarity to some of the controversies surrounding the phenomena of social media crimes. In the context of cyberbullying, some of the controversies include: Who should be punished between the initiator of a bully communication and the redistributor of a bully communicated communication? Or what kind of comment is regarded as cyberbullying statement and which is not? And how do you draw a line between an act of joke and a perpetuation of cyberbullying?

Therefore, putting regulatory frameworks without educating the society about the positive and potential use of social media for commercial and communication purposes will see further transgressions of the social media laws. Similar to other crime and health awareness campaigns, South Africans need education intervention to understand the concept of cyberbullying and its implications on individual social and psychological well-being.

Contributer: Jabulane R Mulambo

Jabulane R. Mulambo is a young professional, with expertise in Corporate Communication, Digital Communication and Knowledge Management.

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Digitalisation of Africa: A viable solution for Africa’s global competitiveness

The human evolution and its developmental aspirations have led to the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The fourth industrial revolution is a revolution of its kind but bears a similar resemblance to that of its antecedent- digital revolution.  The fourth industrial revolution gained its prestige impact from its unique parallel relationship to the introduction of the internet and the World Wide Web; and the dawning transition from analogy to digitalisation.

Thus the Fourth industrial revolution appears to be a key driver of perpetual global inequalities amongst different states, but with promising open opportunities for all- both developed and developing. Therefore, it is important to note that in the fourth industrial revolution, a country which takes advantage of the full potential of the internet and the World Wide Web, will gain a global competitive advantage.

This requires a government which is radical enough to front internet access at the centre of its core strategic economic and developmental initiatives; and vision. The internet has introduced a new order of economy, which is referred to as e-economy. In simple terms, the e-economy can be described as economic transactions or activities which take place on the internet. Therefore, the internet allows the buying and the selling of goods by a mere click of a button. This makes marketing cheaper, with the huge impact of reaching a vast number of consumers, domestically and internationally.

Hence, the forever available internet access to a majority of Africans might in a long term see Africa standing head to head with the Americans and the Europeans. This will see an economic gap shrinking in the favour of Africa. Thus, adding, e-economy to Africa’s envisioned advantage of becoming a food basket of the world, will surely see Africa becoming a powerhouse of global economic. However, this will require discipline leadership and a holistic consensus approach towards the digitalisation of the African continent.

South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt are rated as the most African’s technologically and economically developed countries. The aforementioned have paved a way for other African countries to follow, with practical benefits of the internet prioritisation evident.  South Africa is leading the journey through its Broadband rollout programme which will see a majority of South Africans able to access free, If not cheaper and fast internet. This approach has a potential of opening an e-market for ordinary South Africans, to also participate in the major national economy.

Thus if the Broadband rollout initiative is made a priority of the African Union, with budget prioritisation, Africa will become a Canaan of the Universe.  This will not only benefit individual countries but will also make it easier for intercountry trades and knowledge sharing to better and advance Africa.

Contributer: Jabulane R Mulambo

Jabulane R Mulambo is a young Professional with expertise in Corporate Communication, Digital Communication and Knowledge Management.

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Google now has a Raspberry Pi-like computer for Android

Want to run Android, but don’t want to buy a smartphone, tablet or Android TV device? Then this may be the answer to your prayers: Google has teamed up with Huawei to deliver the HiKey 960, a Raspberry Pi style computer board that runs Android.

Developed with teams at Google, ARM, Huawei, Archermind, and LeMaker, it was made primarily so that Android developers could code on a device using an ARM based chip like so many of the devices that run Android apps, rather than on Intel x86 chips.

But while it’s based primarily at developers, there’s nothing stopping anyone running it as a straight Android computer.

Top specs

It’s a powerful board too, in line with the top-end performance of Android’s big smartphone hitters.

The HiKey 960 has a Huawei Kirin 960 octa-core chip, which makes use of four high-performance ARM Cortex-A73 and four efficient Cortex-A53 cores. That’s the same as you’d find in the Huawei Mate 9. 32GB of storage is onboard along with 3GB of RAM. Frustratingly however, though the board’s Mali G71 GPU can deliver 4K visuals, the board’s HDMI 1.2a slot will limit it to 1080p output.

Elsewhere, the board offers 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1, with PCIe m.2 slots for expanding storage and connectivity options, and 40-pin and 60-pin connectors for monitors and cameras.

Getting Android 7.1 working on the board won’t be as simple as “plug-in-and-play” however – you’ll need to work on your command line know-how and follow instructions laid out by Google. But as a learning project it should be fascinating.

Launching in May, it’s priced at $239, which converts roughly to £185 or AU$320.

R20 million payday for Capitec CEO

Capitec CEO, Gerrie Fourie, has received a R20 million pay cheque after helping the firm post strong financial results over the past year.

Fourie’s pay includes a guaranteed salary of R9.83 million – up 16% from R8.49 million in 2015/16 – a short-term incentive bonus of R3.75 million, and a cash payout from long-term incentive schemes totalling R6.52 million.

CFO, Andre du Plessis earned a total pay package of R10.46 million for the year, while newly appointed head of risk, Nkosana Mashiya earned R5.26 million. Neither du Plessis nor Mashiya exercised any long-term incentive options.

According to Capitec, Fourie and other executives’ increases were the result of an exceptional performance delivered over the 2016/17 financial year.

The banking group noted that total executive remuneration came to R90 million, which represented 2.4% of the bank’s headline earnings for the period (R3.8 billion).

“(This) is deemed to be reasonable considering the value created for investors over the four-year period in comparison to the incremental total remuneration increase over the same period,” Capitec said.

In the 2015/16 financial year, the average salary per employee was R154,520 R1.75 billion paid to 11,335 employees) compared to the 2016/17 average of R164,786 (R2.13 billion paid to 12,956 employees) – representing a 6.6% increase, in line with CPI.

In late March, Capitec reported another bumper financial performance for the year ended February 2017, with headline earnings up 18%, and 1.3 million banking customers added over the period.

Capitec is comfortably the third largest bank in the country by customers, with 8.6 million banking customers, catching up to Absa, which boasts 8.8 million customers.

Standard Bank remains the biggest bank in South Africa with around 11.8 million customers, while FNB (7.7 million) and Nedbank (7.4 million) bringing up the last two positions among the country’s retail banks.

Fake news: Google revamps its search algorithm to curb low-quality content

In a bid to restrict sites from peddling fake news, Google has revamped its search engine to ensure irrelevant links are not shown at the top of the search results. The company not only made changes to its algorithms but also introduced a new feedback system that collects opinion from the users about the search results.

With the new feedback system in place, any user can report offensive, hateful or any inappropriate results to Google. Ben Gomes, vice president of engineering for Google, said only 0.25% of daily search queries return “offensive or clearly misleading” content. It means the search engine may throw approximately 7.5 million misleading results every day.

He added, “Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system.”

Google is also taking steps to curb low-quality content sites from popping up at the top of the search results in favor of authoritative pages. It is worth noting that Google relies on more than 100 fact checking firms that check the authenticity of a claim to return appropriate results.

Lately, the term ‘fake news’ has garnered much attention among top internet companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc. Facebook has been facing flak from netizens for the spread of fake news on its platform. Some folks have also accused Facebook of influencing US 2017 election by promoting posts in favor of the candidate. Though the social networking giant was initially reluctant to address the issues, it is now taking severe steps to curb false news. It partnered with fact-checking organizations like Snopes and Politifact to keep a check on the news feed.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales also joined the war against fake news by launching WikiTribune a news source that relies on the fact-checking community to produce factual and neutral reporting. All internet and social networking companies are facing heat to find solutions to stop spreading the fake and misleading news.

Blue Label announces new COO

Blue Label Telecoms has announced that Wayne McCauley will join the company as Chief Operating Officer of South Africa.

“Wayne will be responsible for developing, implementing, and managing corporate and business strategies. He will report to Mark and Brett Levy, Joint CEOs of Blue Label,” said the company.

“Wayne joins the group after nearly 30 years at SABMiller, most recently in a dual role as Sales and Distribution Director for Africa and as Operations Director for a number of Southern African countries.”

McCauley holds a BCom, MBL, and recently completed a Leading the Business programme at Oxford University.

SAA flights cancelled and grounded due to strike

South African Airways has stated that “it is experiencing operational delays and flight cancellations” due to a strike by staff.

“Flights departing from coastal cities early this morning have been impacted and options have been considered to accommodate passengers affected by the cancellations,” said SAA.

“The required number of cabin crew members are currently not available to enable SAA to operate all of its flights.”

Cabin crew are on strike over meal allowances, according to reports. SAA staff said they have not had an international meal allowance increase in six years.

Statement from SAA

South African Airways (SAA) would like to advise its customers and stakeholders that it is experiencing operational delays and flight cancellations due to industrial action by members of its cabin crew.

Flights departing from coastal cities early this morning have been impacted and options have been considered to accommodate passengers affected by the cancellations.

The required number of cabin crew members are currently not available to enable SAA to operate all of its flights. The strike action follows a notice of industrial action by one of the labour unions representing its cabin crew members, the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA).

The following domestic outbound flights (from Johannesburg) have been delayed:

Johannesburg
Delays:
SA401 Johannesburg – Port Elizabeth
SA459 Johannesburg – East London

Cancellations:
SA531/538 Johannesburg – Durban – Johannesburg
SA307/322 and SA313/326 Johannesburg – Cape Town – Johannesburg
SA317/332 and SA323/SA334 now to operate on a A340-600 aircraft to create more seat capacity

Flight Departed:
SA527 Johannesburg – Durban departed with a 51 minute delay
SA303 Johannesburg – Cape Town departed with a 20 minute delay

Domestic:
All flights departing from Cape Town and Durban departed as per normal schedule
SA306 / SA308 Cape Town – Johannesburg was delayed with 30 minutes.

For further updates customers are advised to visit www.flysaa.com for current flight status.

SAA will provide further updates on what options are available to its customers. These include combining some of the cancelled flights to minimise the impact of the delays customers will experience as a result of flight cancellations.

The airline will ensure that all changes are published timeously and on the day of travel support will be provided to customers who may experience flight delays or cancellations that may occur during this period.

SAA regrets the inconvenience to all its customers and is exploring ways in conjunction with its partners to facilitate the accommodation of its passengers on later flights or on partner flights.

Other travel options and/or flight details will be communicated as soon as final arrangements have been confirmed.

How to stream to Twitch from your Nintendo Switch

You livestream your PlayStation 4 games, your Xbox One games and your PC games. Heck, you’ve even livestreamed games from your Android device. Now you’ve got a shiny new Nintendo Switch , we imagine you’re getting ready to livestream from that too. The world deserves to see you majestic Mario Kartvictories.

Unfortunately, you’ll find livestreaming to services such as Twitch, YouTube, and other similar services isn’t quite as easy on Nintendo Switch as on other new consoles, as Nintendo’s new console doesn’t yet support any of the apps that will allow you to do so directly.

The Nintendo Switch does have a capture button, though at the moment it’s only able to capture screenshots. Nintendo has said, however, that it’ll be capable of capturing shareable video in the future. Whether or not this will mean support for apps like Twitch and YouTube Gaming, however, is still unclear.

That’s not to say Switch livestreaming can’t be done right now, though! Where there’s a will there’s a way and by will we mean HD capture card.

Get an HD capture card

It’s up to you whether or not you use an internal or external HD capture card as both will work. As far as recommendations go we’d say a good external option is the Elgato HD60S or the AVer Media Live Gamer Extreme.

A good internal option on the other hand is the Elgato HD60 Pro PCIe.

If you’ve gone for an external capture card, your first step is just plugging it into your PC via USB.

If you opt for an internal capture card, there’s an extra step as you’ll have to install it into your computer’s PCI port. Different cards come with different instructions, so it’s worth referring to the installation instructions that come with your specific card.

Connect your console up to your TV and PC

To stream games from your Nintendo Switch, it’ll have to be docked (no on the go streaming for you, my friend) so make sure the console is in TV mode.

Next, grab an HDMI cable and plug one end of it into the HDMI port in your Nintendo Switch dock then plug the other side into your capture card’s HDMI input port.

Using a second HDMI cable, plug one end into the output HDMI port of your capture card and plug the other side into your TV.

If your PC isn’t anywhere near your Nintendo Switch, we’ll be honest, this has the potential to be an absolute pain and you’ll have to pick up some extra long HDMI cables.

Now make sure the software that comes with your capture card is installed on your PC and start up your Nintendo Switch!

If everything’s gone smoothly and you haven’t accidentally strangled yourself with HDMI cables you should see your Nintendo Switch game appear on both your TV and your PC. Just hit record and start playing!

Get livestreaming software

This is just for recording rather than livestreaming. If you’d like to livestream you have to go slightly further and download some live broadcasting software. This doesn’t have to cost you any money and there are a couple of options available –OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and XSplit for example.

While OBS is great for getting into the nitty gritty of things, if you’re looking for software that’s simple to set up and use XSplit is generally preferable.

Once you’ve got the software installed, make sure you add video capture card as a source and select your specific device from a drop down list.

Now you’re able to record and livestream your gameplay to your service of choice! It’s as simple as that.

Wikipedia co-founder joins the fight against fake news with Wikitribune

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is no stranger to bucking a trend. When Wikipedia launched it was in direct competition with the online edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, and the smart money would have been on Britannica, with a solid track record stretching all the way back to the 1700s and a business model that worked: information written by professionals, and purchased by users.

Wikipedia, by contrast, offered a free-to-access, crowd-sourced information model, with a seemingly endless sprawl of information curated by thousands of editors, and a questionable business model – yet it emerged the victor.

Now Wales is turning his attention to news with his latest venture, Wikitribune, a news source dedicated to “factual and neutral” reporting. With the growing sense that news sources are losing their impartiality and standards because of their funding modes, and with claims of ‘fake news’ surrounding every major event recently, Wales felt something needed to change.

Wales has in the past been pretty vocal about his feelings when it comes to the responsibilities of the media, but in a recent interview with the BBC he made clear that there were three major driving factors behind the move to start Wikitribune now.

New news

The first is the current rise of ‘fake news’. With Facebook, Twitter and Google all taking steps to fight the rise of news stories created to manipulate people, it’s an issue that’s being taken increasingly seriously.

The second is the current business model that online media operates within. With advertising driving revenue, media companies can get into a situation where the desire for site visits leads to the proliferation of ‘clickbait’ articles and headlines, making money for the company at the expense of the user.

The third is a growing trend of users showing that they’re willing to pay for what they consider to be reliable and good quality news, with Guardian and New York Times subscriptions proving a strong business model for online news.

The last of these is especially interesting as it’s pretty much the opposite of what created Wikipedia’s success, with the idea of a paid competitor potentially beating a free one. But at this point, the currency that seems more valuable to Wales is truth.

“I think we’re in a world right now where people are very concerned about making sure we have high-quality fact-based information, so I think there will be demand for this,” Wales told the BBC .

Crowd-funded media

Although using the Wiki brand, Wikitribune is an independent project from Wales, not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikipedia Foundation, and the move makes sense. In 2004 the Wiki group launched Wikinews, a news site that ran on the same model as Wikipedia – crowd-sourced, free-to-access information.

Wikitribune will follow a more traditional journalistic model in terms of the way it’s run, with professional journalists writing the stories, working under an editor.

Where it becomes interesting is the role that the editor has in the framework. Whereas in a traditional publication the editor is the one responsible for shaping the ‘voice’ of the output through the selection of what subjects are going to be covered, in the Wikitribune model the users will have a greater hand in dictating the output, relegating the editor to “more a management role than editorial vision or pursuing an agenda”, according to Wales.

If a large number of subscribers are interested in a specific topic, a journalist gets hired to handle that topic. It makes sense editorially. The difficulty is that it’s fairly easy to picture such a publication becoming an echo-chamber, with users only getting the news that they want to get – not great if the whole purpose of your publication is neutral, factual news.

Wales clarified: “It’s the monthly supporters who will be able to determine what are the topics we are going to cover. But it is going to be neutral. They can’t pick their favorite hack, who pumps forward their agenda. That’s part of the editorial control.”

Broken news

It will be interesting to see how the model works, as journalists will only be hired based on the amount of subs getting paid in each month. So not only do we not know what the output of Wikitribune would be, we don’t even know how much output there would be.

“We’re getting people to sign up as monthly supporters, and the more monthly supporters we have the more journalists we can hire,” Wales added. “In terms of minimums, if we could only hire two journalists then it would be a blog and not really worth doing. But I would love to start with a lot more – 10 to 20.”

So it’s early days yet, but with Wales at the helm, and advisors ranging from model and actress Lily Cole to US law professor Larry Lessig and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, Wikitribune certainly has the foundations for something very exciting.

The trial version of the site claims “the news is broken and we can fix it”. It’s a bold claim, and we’ll be interested to see if it can deliver on its promise.

Vodacom Double Data promotion cancelled so it can be “enhanced”

Vodacom has ended its “Double Your Data” promotion, which was originally set to run until 30 June.

The promotion offered free data on certain data bundles purchased through the MyVodacom App. Bonus data was valid for seven days.

Shortly before ending the promotion, Vodacom published a video on its YouTube channel which demonstrated how to buy data with its app to qualify.

The video has since been pulled. Where the promotion’s T&Cs said it would run from 8 April to 30 June, it now states that the promotion ran from 8 April to 14 April.

“Our latest Double Your Data promotion was aimed at driving awareness of the MyVodacom App, while at the same time giving our customers more value,” Vodacom told MyBroadband.

“The campaign was active for two months, having commenced on 11 February 2017. Overall, the campaign was highly successful in terms of customer appreciation and engagement.”

Vodacom said that, based on feedback from the market, it is looking at ways of enhancing the proposition to provide better value, and has withdrawn the offer in the interim.

Customers who used the promotion were informed that it was ending with the following message, said Vodacom:

“We hope you enjoyed doubling your data on the My Vodacom App. This promotion will end on 14 April 2017 at 5 pm. Stay connected for great Vodacom deals in future.”