It's clear by now, that we South Africans are a pretty hostile bunch online. When we're not slut-shaming Bonang for doing normal human-being stuff we're fat shaming Lesego Legobane (Thick Leeyonce) until she breaks down. We just can't let anything go. Now, tech-giant Microsoft has determined that we are in fact the second rudest country online. For International Safe Internet Day, on Tuesday 6 February, Microsoft released research about people's digital civility–how well people behave online, particularly social media.
Out of the 23 countries which were targeted for the research, South Africa scored as low a number when it comes to being the least civil online. Some of the countries include Belgium, Argentina, Japan, the UK and the US.
"We did a survey on 23 countries–both developing and developed countries, Kethan Parbho, chief operations and marketing officer at Microsoft Africa told Radio 702 today. "We had a balanced view of ages 13 to 17, and then 18 to 74. South Africa faired 22 out of 23."
Asked what this meant, his response was:
"From a digital civility, looking at things like compassion, empathy, kindness, people getting exposed to negative risks, as a result of going online, South Africa is actually in a difficult position. Many of the areas that were surveyed; areas like hate speech, discrimination, hoaxes, scams and frauds, we scored, in a negative way, much higher than our global counterparts."
This comes as no surprise to a person like myself who spends most of their time on social media. South Africa has one of the most robust online communities in the world, where pertinent conversations are held. We tweet and discuss politics, racism, sexism, homophobia, hip-hop, and a whole lot more. I have personally learned about women's rights on Twitter more than on any medium.
You can read the rest of the survey here. Be warned: bar charts and pie charts galore!