Silencing white supremacists on the Internet would only lead to white feelings of persecution, paranoia, white genocide conspiracy theories and acts violence similar to those recently perpetrated by Anders Breivik and Rhodesia-inspired Dylann Roof.
On July 12, 2017, a coalition of websites, technology companies, digital rights organizations, and Internet users in the United States joined forces to defend a democratizing idea that matters for Zimbabwe, especially in the final months of Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship: net neutrality.
As law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies of leading democracies and authoritarian countries relentlessly push for back doors to secure encrypted messaging apps such as Signal and WhatsApp, strong encryption is needed in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe now more than ever before.
Internal Facebook documents recently reviewed by ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom, reveal that the social media behemoth’s censors often condone hate speech by white men but punish racialized minorities and activist groups for legitimate political expression.
“When we live connected to a community, we are more likely to become champions for one another, not just for ourselves,” writes Sarah van Gelder, the co-founder and editor at large of YES! Magazine.
By reporting allegations of sexual assault committed by predatory white UN peacekeepers against Black African women and girls as “consensual sex”, the media presents Black bodies as “sites for white expressions of sadism and sexual perversion”, and reproduces stereotypes informed by white supremacy.
Zimbabwe urgently needs a grassroots movement and network of Internet freedom fighters dedicated to defending privacy and digital rights during Zimbabwe’s 2018 transition season and after Robert Mugabe’s departure.