Social media helping East Africans stay appraised

Posted on November 25, 2013 10:04 pm

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have emerged as the new meeting points for criminals in East Africa a trend that has baffled security agencies in the region. While some might think of crime activities as happening in secret locations, social media platforms are helping make such wars more public than ever before. Study conducted recently revealed that youthful criminal members have been making threats and violent statements on Twitter or Facebook and even worse threatening their victims without any fear although most of them use fake identities. I came across this piece that basically describes how even underage trolls do not like the crime occurring over anything meaningful. “A couple of young girls that need to be raped, plus a resistance, plus sex equals tomb material,” Kabena K****** says bluntly. “This is a f***ing 18-year-old a**hole statement.” More of these criminal acts are happening online and much so the authorities in the region have failed to patrol and police online activity that fuels criminal activities.

There are plenty of websites both in local languages and English that host message boards where criminals openly swap tips on how much a kilogram of marijuana is worth, how to bribe a copper or magistrate. In Uganda, such comments have made the work of enforcement authorities much easier but despite the public nature of the comments there have been very few prosecutions. In Kenya, security agencies now look for posts surrounding specific time. The use of big data seems to be working in Tanzania and has helped save lives by allowing the law enforcement agencies to tip off potential victims. For quite sometime now, crime experts in East Africa have talked about predictive policing which is the idea of using big data to tackle crimes before they happen. East Africans are tweeting and blogging about crimes like murders, mugging, burglary in cities and regions plagued by the crime, keeping people informed about criminal activities which the mainstream media outlets are too afraid to report on. With traditional media reporters often being intimidated by criminal gangs, social media has given East Africans a way to stay appraised about the dangers lurking in their outback and cities.


Contador Harrison