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South Africans are wondering whether this campaign was at all successful |© Unsplash
South Africans are wondering whether this campaign was at all successful |© Unsplash
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South Africa's Social Media Blackout Proves it's Hard to Log Off

Picture of Carina Claassens
Updated: 21 June 2017
Twitter celeb, poet, and activist Ntsiki Mazwai encouraged South Africans to boycott all social media platforms for 24 hours due to data costs, but locals don’t seem to be willing to log off.

Ntsiki Mazwai has cheered on South Africans to participate in a social media blackout to bring attention to the cost of data in the country. The idea is to log off from all social media platforms for 24 hours, but since the hashtag #socialmediashutdown has been trending on Twitter this seems unlikely. The purpose of the blackout is to lower high data costs and Mazwai has called on South Africans to not purchase data for 24 hours. This, however, doesn’t mean that they’re not on social media, thanks to WiFi.

In a previous study by research company Tariffic, South Africa’s data costs were compared to those of Brazil, Russia, India, China, Kenya and Australia. Results show that Brazil has the highest data costs while South Africa follows at a close second.

Mazwai argues that data shouldn’t expire after 30 days and that costs should be lowered. Her rally to boycott social media platforms for 24 hours seems fairly unsuccessful as users are instead voicing their frustrations online. This might in the end prove to be even more effective than the initial plan as there’s been a major response with thousands of tweets being sent out.

Although the hashtag has ironically reached trending status on social media the general consensus seems to be one of confusion. Social media users are unsure whether they should be supporting the cause on Twitter or following the initial instructions to log off. One thing we do know is that the issue is attracting a lot of attention, which is the ultimate goal.

Here are some highlights from social media.