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You don’t often hear the words “social media” and “African Union” mentioned in the same breath. And if its latest press release is anything to go by, you can see why.
The African Union Commission (AUC), which acts as the executive and administrative branch or secretariat of the African Union (and is somewhat analogous to the European Commission), has requested that “hackers” in the social media space stop impersonating its chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
“It has come to the attention of the African Union Commission that there are hackers in the social media space, masquerading as the AUC Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Clarice (N.C.) Dlamini Zuma,” the release says. “The AU Commission would like to make it absolutely clear that the AU Commission Chairperson, is currently not holding any accounts with social media platforms. The AU Commission would like all and sundry to desist from the unauthorised utilisation of Her Excellency’s name”.
Right, got the message? Now go on run off and delete all those parody accounts, you naughty hackers.
We’re not quite sure what the commission is talking about though. Never mind the fact that you don’t need to have anywhere near the skill-set of a hacker to set up a fake Twitter account, a number of searches on Twitter returned no results for Dlammini-Zuma and while the only Facebook profile we could find might not be official, it hardly appears to contain any form of parody or anything slanderous.
We should add the commission’s reaction is nowhere near as fierce as that of the currently-disbanded ANC Youth League when it found out that there were parody accounts of its then leader Julius Malema on Twitter. The youth wing of South Africa’s ruling party famously called for Twitter to be shut down due to the proliferation of fake accounts tweeting in his name.
Interestingly Malema then ended up taking over ownership of his largest spoof account.
Given the AUC’s insistence that Dlamini-Zuma has no official social media presence, we can’t see the same thing happening in this instance.