Cell C #BreakTheNet Sparks Mixed Reactions

Hot Topic of the Week

Break The Net is the new digital reality show looking for the next South African YouTube sensation. Finalists stand the chance to win R250 000 and a trip to Hollywood. Cell C recently announced the Top 30 Finalists in the competition and while the news didn’t quite break the net, the first episode certainly sparked conversation amongst the community.

On 23 October, Cell C released the first of the #BreakTheNet weekly episodes and encouraged followers to tune in to see who the lucky contestants were, as well as their first challenge. Posts by the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter received a predominantly positive reaction, mainly in the form of likes. Others took the time to share words of encouragement and congratulate the winners. The finalists were also vocal about their excitement about the challenges ahead.

Although the majority of individuals responded positively, others were less impressed with the finalists who were selected. 102 individuals of the YouTube community voiced their disapproval of the outcome. Common themes in the negative conversation were finalists not being deserving of being selected, videos lacking originality, and ‘more worthy’ individuals not making it through.

Cell C BTN Episode 1 Response
The above graphic provides a snapshot of the reaction to the first #BreakTheNet episode of the Cell C reality series.

While it’s okay to voice your opinion, it’s important to understand the difference between sharing your point of view and being nasty. What is disappointing is that several of commenters who complained were YouTubers who had entered the competition themselves and not made it through. This is poor sportsmanship. Why detract from someone’s happiness simply because you, or someone you support, did not make the cut?

There are few opportunities for YouTubers in South Africa to make a name for themselves. We should be celebrating the wins of our peers instead of tearing each other down out of spite and jealousy. Whether you agree or disagree with an outcome, emotional intelligence is key to reacting in a way that communicates your point without it being at the expense of others. Interrogating why you feel it’s necessary to comment and what you hope to achieve through adding your opinion is another worthwhile consideration. I urge you to think twice before you weigh in with negativity and call out those who are discouraging any of the winners. I also hope you will take a moment to share your support for the finalists. It is a great achievement that they have been chosen and I look forward to seeing how they perform each challenge.

Watch the show on the Cell C Reality App on Sunday nights at 7pm, and find out who could be the next SuzelleDIY or Ofentse Mwase.

Internet Censorship Restricts Video Uploads in SA

The South African government has approved the submission of the Films and Publications (FPB) Amendment Bill, which restricts South Africans from uploading videos to online channels, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, unless they have registered as a distributor and have paid a registration fee.

A cabinet statement released mid-August 2016 announced that the Films and Publications Act of 1996 will be adapted as technology has advanced. The Internet Censorship Bill will give the government the right to monitor and censor content on the internet. The bill applies not only to media, companies and organisations but to all South African entities, including members of the public. Although initially started to restrict child pornography and revenge porn, broad terminology and vague definitions allow for the government to tap into any and all internet activity. This means that any video content contributor on any social media platform will be tracked (name, address, and age) and all distributors will need to register with the FPB.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been against the bill since talk of the amendment was brought to light, and has vocalised their concerns of freedom of expression on the internet being curtailed, which is unconstitutional. They have also commented on the feasibility of enforcing such a bill. “This means every single person with a social media account in South Africa would have to register with the Film and Publication Board as a distributor and pay the requisite fee for pre-classification. This is quite clearly unworkable”, said DA spokesperson on communication, Phumzile van Damme. Click on the image below to sign the DA petition to fight against internet monitoring.

DA Internet Censorship Petition
Petition to throw out the internet monitoring bill.

The Internet Censorship Bill will be deliberated today (20 September 2016), and so we as South Africans await to hear the outcome.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments section below. Is there more we could do as South Africans to fight against this bill?