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The controversial vuvuzela, which is a regular feature of South African football matches, seems to be causing even more of a stir on Facebook than in the stadiums and fan parks across the World Cup in South Africa.
While various groups and pages have popped up on Facebook in support of the vuvuzela, it seems that the majority of vuvuzela-themed activity on the world’s largest social network has been aimed at banning the one-metre long plastic horn.
The largest of these anti-vuvuzela pages, called FIFA – BAN THE ANNOYING VUVUZELA (HORN) FROM THE SOUTH AFRICA WORLD CUP!, has already attracted more than 190,000 fans.
However, the South African Football Association (SAFA) made a presentation in 2008 before the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, arguing that it would not be an authentic African World Cup without the vuvuzela. FIFA eventually agreed, with President Sepp Blatter telling ESPN at the time: “We should not try to Europeanise an African World Cup.”
According to a Sport24.co.za report: “A recent survey found that the sound emitted by a vuvuzela was the equivalent to 127 decibels – louder than a drum’s 122 decibels, or a referee’s whistle at 121.8 decibels.”
On Facebook the issue is causing raging debate, and it would seem that most find the vuvuzela irritating and still want it banned from matches.
Here are some of the heated comments from the most-popular anti-vuvuzela page:
However, there are many on Facebook that also support the vuvuzela:
Facebook, however, is not the only place where the vuvuzela debate is raging. Various news agencies and broadcasters have also complained about the vuvuzela. The BBC has reportedly received 545 complaints about vuvuzelas, and are “considering showing coverage that cuts out the noise of vuvuzelas” on their red button service.
The Guardian, however, has reported that vuvuzelas seem to be popular in the UK, with Sainsbury’s selling 22 000 of the instruments in 12 hours before the England game.
Dr Maggi Soer of the University of Pretoria was quoted on Freep.com as saying: “Wear earplugs to the games. Either buy them at a pharmacy or make them yourselves.”
Freep.com also reported that the Johannesburg-based Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advised pet-owners to keep their animals indoors during “anticipated high noise-level periods such as when vuvuzelas may be used”.
While the anti-vuvuzela Facebook Page keeps attracting support for its cause, FIFA reiterated at a press briefing on Monday that vuvuzelas are here to stay.