After just days since its creation, the hashtags #DefyHateNow and its much older variant #IChoosePeace have gained international acclaim and recognition, and social media giants twitter and facebook have agreed to honour the initiative by exposing and shaming the real identities of top 50 people who have used their services to spread hatred and exacerbate the current political and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
This welcomed announcement comes just days before the convening of the first #DefyHateNow conference that aims at combating the use of social media to spread hate speech. The creators of the hashtag and organizers of the #DefyHateNow have not said what they intend to do with the names once released but it appears their primary objective is to find ways of addressing the misuse of social media to spread hatred and not necessarily shame or expose the repeat offenders.
However, others are eager on getting their hands on the top 50. According to one #DefyHateNow follower and a long-time #IChoosePeace evangelist who will be attending the discussions in Berlin, this move by the social media giants eliminates the comfort and solace under which people used to hide when discussing, spreading or instigating hatred inside closed groups or forums often under false or hidden identifies.
“Exposing and shaming these people publicly will drive home the message that hatred cannot be tolerated anymore. This will make everyone think before spitting hate-venom if they know their online presence will forever bear the scars of their actions,” he said.
Bullies, terrorists organizations, racist groups and so on will also be targeted by this new approach that has taken lobbyists years of legal battle to reach an agreement with the social media giants.
Saakam! will publish the complete list on its ‘Wall of Shame’ once released. Rumors and speculations are already circulating among South Sudanese that some prominent public figures are among the top 50. In the past few months, some of their tweets and facebook messages have been found to contain ‘tribalist’ bigotry.
The #DefyHateNow conference, hosted by the German-African Foundation, is scheduled to take place in Berlin, Germany on the 08th of July2 014. Arrangements have also been put in place to join and follow the moderated discussions online. Talk of Juba (TOJ) will be participating.
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NOTE: Although not our style to state the obvious, the story is satirical in its nature. As for the rest, you will be smart enough to figure out (we believe).