These Types Of WhatsApp Messages Could Land You In Jail In South Africa

Pappi Hex

Many countries around the globe have different types of social media regulation laws to control content shared on social media platforms......with some so strict that even an emoji sent on WhatsApp could land you 5 years of jail time.

Not wanting to be left behind, South Africa has released some set of new laws on social media harassment, hate speech and freedom of expression, and others for content shared on WhatsApp and other social media platforms. Going against these new regulations could land you hefty a fine, as well potential jail time.

Getting the approval of South Africa's president, Cyril Ramaphosa, the Films and Publication Amendment Act became operational yesterday (1 March 2022). Though the new regulations apply to the sale, hiring, and streaming of content on different digital platforms in South Africa, Business Tech reports that the Act also introduced stricter regulations around the distribution of online content (including social media) in South Africa.

Also Read: Fight Over WhatsApp Status Gets Indian Woman Killed

So what does the new Act says? Let's take a look below.

South Africa's New Social Media Regulation Law

1. Pornographic Content:

"No person may expose, through any medium, including the Internet and social media, a private sexual photographer or film," the new Act said while adding that if the disclosure was made "without the consent of the individual or individuals who appear in the photograph or film" or if they were made "with the intention of causing that individual harm."

However, this doesn't apply if the person "reasonably believed that the disclosure was necessary for the purpose of preventing, detecting  or investigating crime," or if the individual who appears in the photograph or file consented to the original creation of such photograph or film

The Act also warned against creating or distributing media content on the Internet and social media, depicting sexual violence or violence against children for whatever purpose, even if those who appeared in the coverage gave their consent.

Convicted individuals will receive a fine of "not exceeding R150,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both a fine and such imprisonment."

2. Online Hate Speech and Violence Incitement:

This part warns South African Internet users against the spread of hate speech or misinformation that advocates or incites violence, or amounts to propaganda.

"No person may distribute through any medium including the Internet and social media, any file, game or publication which amounts to propaganda for war, incites imminent violence or advocates hate speech," the Act read.

Anyone found guilty of knowingly distributing hate speech shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of not exceeding R150,000, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.

3. Internet Service Provider's Action:

South African Internet service providers are required to remove shared contents on their network that is used for war propaganda, violence incitement, or advocating hatred based on an identifiable group, distribution of child porn, or anything related. 

ISP that fails to remove such contents shall be subject to a fine or imprisonment, or even subject to both a fine and imprisonment. 

You can find the complete social media regulation law here

Related questions:

Can you sue for harassment on social media?

Can you press charges for social media harassment?

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