TOO MUCH FREEDOM?

Social media ethos needed to regulate ‘savage’ Twitter wars

Most citizens put forth their arguments on social media probably because of the rate of unemployment

In Summary

• It beats logic to see a sitting lawmaker starting Twitter battles with a Cabinet secretary whose role is to implement the laws. 

• Airing grievances and views on social media is part of freedom of expression but there are gaps in ensuring social media ethos are observed at all times. 

The Twitter logo.
OFFICIAL 'RING': The Twitter logo.
Image: COURTESY

Online altercation is on the rise all over the world, especially in Kenya. After the recent launch of the Building Bridges Initiative at the Bomas of Kenya, the report’s contents brewed a bitter conversation on Twitter.

Before the dust settled, the mode of implementing the recommendations met nasty responses on Twitter. Most citizens have perfected the art of putting forth their arguments on social media probably because of the rate of unemployment and subsequent idleness.

Though social media may exceptionally stand out as the best engagement platform in advanced democracies, there is an ingrained tendency of its abuse by some citizens.

Other than giving informative ideas and laying out constructive criticism, most users purely malign and soil the reputation of other people. All these undertakings are threats to democracy and also have irreparable economic ramifications.

It beats logic to see a sitting MP whose mandate is enshrined in the Constitution to make laws starting Twitter battles with a Cabinet secretary whose role is to implement the laws. This spells a soar working relationship between the two arms of government and subsequently doom to economic progress.

Airing grievances and views on social media is part of freedom of expression but there are gaps in ensuring social media ethos are observed at all times.

Inasmuch as everyone is free to use social media, tweets should be monitored to prevent defamation and starting of political wars aside from tribal incitement. Some sort of public education on the effects of social media abuse should be conducted and punitive measures put in place for errant characters most of whom are only after making ‘savage’ replies for laughs.

 

Nairobi