Information Disorders and Civil Unrest An Analysis of the July 2021 Unrest in South Africa

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Vhonani Petla


Disinformation, Misinformation, Malinformation, Social media, Global South, Civil Unrest, Violence


Various scholars in the global north have explored information disorders and have been able to present findings on them and their implications on various sectors; unfortunately, this has not always been the case for the global South. This desktop study explores information disorders in South Africa during the July 2021 unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal between the 7-19 July. This paper demonstrates that information disorders on social media have been used as a catalyst for unrest; they are used to mobilize both those online and offline. This work shows how politicians and influential individuals used these disorders to facilitate and instigate civil unrest during July 2021. This work argues that people in political office and influential individuals should be aware of the responsibility of being influential and the consequences of their social media posts. The work further argues that despite various ways to counter these information disorders, the digital divide and literacy rate in South Africa make this challenging.


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