Cameroon grapples with social media abuse
The government of Cameroon believes the outbreak of COVID-19 has seen an increase in the abuse of social media.
The National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ANTIC), the state agency charged with promoting the use of ICT and securing the country’s cyberspace, has detected and reported 3,211 fake accounts to social media platforms. Of the identified fake accounts, 2,219 have been shut down.
Professor Ebot Ebot Enaw, Director General of ANTIC, said the organisation has implemented a toll-free number to allow users to report suspected cases of cybercrime.
On 15 July 2020 Enaw was quoted by the Cameroon Tribune publication as saying the Agency has conducted over 2,500 investigations on cybercrime with success thanks to digital forensic techniques and tools, which make it possible to gather digital evidence that permit the identification of authors of electronic communication or publication.
Speaking to reporters in the capital Yaounde recently, the country’s Minister of Communication René Emmanuel Sadi expressed the government’s concern over fake news, personal attacks and other vendettas, infringements of privacy, failure to respect the secrecy of correspondence – whether public or private, unjustified unwarranted attacks on the lives of others, and in general, violation of the basic rules necessary for a healthy and tolerant social life had become a cause for concern.
“These untruths and other information fabricated or deliberately biased, are likely to undermine social cohesion and living-together of populations,” said Sadi.
“Unscrupulous individuals in the country had sullied the reputation of Cameroonian and foreign dignitaries as well as sabotage government’s COVID-19 response online,” he added.
ANTIC has also enhanced the capacities of government units in charge of digital communications in order to beef up their online presence.