Today's Big Stories

Twitter has degenerated into platform for race trolls, says Zille

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says Twitter has severely degenerated and is becoming a threat to open debate and free speech.

According to Zille, some users on the platform manufacture racist tweets and deliberately use insults and vicious language to derail constructive discussions.

Social media expert Jodene Shaer suggests that the alleged change on Twitter has resulted in self-censorship online.

Meanwhile, prominent Twitter user Kay Sexwale said that South African politics has led to the combative element and finds it ironic that Zille distance herself from the growing hostility.

Listen to the full conversation from The Midday Report with Stephen Grootes:

A troll unit is a broad concept. Twitter was once a wonderful platform to debate, for fun, humour and contesting ideas for open minds.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

Twitter is now a forum for the most vicious, debilitating insults.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

The irony is, if your black on Twitter, you can be as vicious as you like to white South Africans. But if anyone defends themselves against unjustified generalisations, you're then regarded as racist.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

There is an attempt to bait people until they respond and then try to say that this proves that they are racist.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

I find it interesting that often a lot of government spokespersons (who are obviously prominent members of the ANC) are very much at the forefront of this.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

Race is the only card they have left and Twitter is a good platform on which to keep playing that card.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

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