Corruption is viewed by many as a cancerous disease that threatens the very existence of human values of integrity, transparency and uprightness. In this regard, Corruption has been defined a fraudulent act that involves bribery. The effects of corruption are to change facts or make them disappear to suit the intentions of the corrupt. Everywhere in the world, corruption exists though at differing levels. There is no single government or institution that has been able to root out corruption; all that is done is reduce it to minimal levels (Jarso, 2010, p.33). There are various avenues through which corrupt practices have been propagated. This includes corrupt face-to-face deals, through the mobile texts, through the banks and currently, in the social media. Social media refers to a collection of communication channels which are online in nature; these channels are dedicated to ensuring society based interaction, input, collaboration, and content sharing. They are run by individual applications and websites motivated into microblogging, social bookmarking, and forums which form types of social media. Examples of social media include Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
The causes of social media corruption is to prevent the publication of materials that are deemed to be damaging to the people opposing the publications. As such, social media users are bribed so that they do not expose the corrupt deals of mainly prominent officials in the government and private sector. Other causes include; political patronage, lack of political will, the absence of or weak management systems, lack of professional integrity. Other reasons include erosion of norms and values in the society, failure to enforce the law, misuse of power vested on the management team, greed, public sector inefficiency as well as ignorance by common citizens or rather lack of awareness on their rights when it comes to social media. These causes of social media corruption have led to undesirable effects on nearly all nations affected such as; increased poverty, unemployment, shoddy work, inefficient media services, decreased investment in the economy, adverse international considerations and public image, injustices in public utilities, property and land and even social unrest. It is, therefore, imperative that efficient measures are put in place to stop this new form of corruption; the social media corruption.
Kenya is having increased cases of social media corruption due to the increase in the number of social media users since the advent of the digital revolution. The solutions to the social media corruption in Kenya have been insufficient as they have failed to minimize the vice. Specifically, various solutions were implemented with no much success until the most recent one was discovered and fully incorporated into the Kenyan system (Nyanjom, 2014, p.4). Social media management license was given to qualified persons to manage social media issues where they were allowed to create their blogs after acceptance of certain terms and conditions of operation. This means that the social media activities were privatized that led to absolute ruling out of social media monopoly. This paper seeks to review critically the various Kenyan solutions to the social media corruption vices. Finally, a new solution will be proposed that if implemented will reduce the cases of social media corruption to the minimum.
Cases of social media fraud went uncontrolled for many years since the advent of the digital revolution as the state was not allowed to access the social media accounts of the users. The first attempt that the Kenyan state used to solve the problem of epidemic social media corruption was via the passage of the adoption of various media laws that prohibited any posting of information that threatens other peoples lives (Harrington, and Manji, 2013, p.4). The grunt norm of the Kenyan society- which is the Kenyan constitution 2010, gives the social media users the freedom of expression (Mendes and International, 2013, p.2). It also gives the intelligence arm of the police service the exclusive rights to curtail and indeed access information contained in private social media accounts. These laws include; Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA) 2013, and the Penal Code. The intention of these Acts is to ensure that the information that individuals share on social media accounts is carefully evaluated, and if found to be untrue, the user is charged under the provisions of the laws. Additionally, the laws restricted the content that could be posted as improper content could be heavily punished by fines or jail terms (Souter and Kerretts-Makau, 2012, p.2).
The passage of the various legislations mentioned above was instrumental in the reduction of the social media corruption. In this regard, it guaranteed the freedom of expression for the social media users. In fact, social media started to be used as a way of exposing corrupt deals instead of a channel for propagating corruption. Bloggers used their social media space to present those who had attempted to bribe them and shame them to the public. Corruption cases involving the social media reduced drastically as individuals were now free to express themselves (Tomno, 2012, p.3). Indeed, the Kenyan society through that it had won the war on social media corruption as there were not threats after the exposes was aired out on various social media sites. According to Souter and Kerretts-Makau (2012, p.2), the rate of corruption epidemic through the social media dropped as the laws were harsh on those who tried to use social media to propagate their corruption practices. Therefore, the passage of the various legislations significantly led to a reduction in social media corruption cases as it scared those who had such intentions.
Despite the achievements that the adoption of the said laws had on the rate of social media bribery, it also had its disadvantages. In this regard, the legislation in another way restricted the freedom of expression enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution. However, more importantly, the corruption cartels found other ways of using social media to further their corrupt deals. They opened social media accounts with fake names and those, which could not be established via the use of identification. This was a significant challenge that the state could not deal with. Additionally, through the use of pseudonyms they still offered bribes to the social media users, which was tough for the government to control (Mendes, and International, 2013, p.4). Eventually, the cases started to rise, and corruption in the social media got to its peak. More importantly, when cases of corruption went to the courts, some of the provisions of the social media laws were overruled by the provisions of the constitution on the right to privacy and the freedom of expression (The State of Blogging & Social Media in Kenya 2015 Report, 2015, p.3). For instance, in one of the cases, the judge ruled that the right of speech is inherent and should, therefore, not be curtailed without any justifiable reasons. Therefore, these cons make the solution of legislation ineffective and outdated as the social media propagators of corruption have devised other methods of continuing with their vices. There is a need for a more updated technique that can provide a solution to these existing problems. The previous solutions used to fight social media corruption have failed to live up to the expectations.
New Solution: Collaborative Monitoring
The application of a collective monitoring and reporting on the content of social media users will effectively minimize the incidences of social media corruption. In this regard, the state should collaborate with international partners as well as the administrators of the social media applications so that they can monitor the activities of the users and single out those who use the social sites with an intention of making and furthering any corrupt practices. This collective action will include the international police, the international media and all the stakeholders in the social media industry. The persons opening social media accounts should also be properly vetted so that it is established that they are real so that fake people can be prevented from opening and running social media accounts. This will, however, require collaboration and collective will of the parties involved. As the effects of corruption can be felt in every part of the world, this corroboration will be made possible by the various countries with epidemic cases of fraud. More importantly, the citizenry will be the utmost benefits as the degree of transparency and integrity will increase. Further, public resources will be prudently and transparently utilized for the advantages of the citizens.
The application of this new solution will be beneficial in many ways. When the causes of corruption are eliminated, the effects disappear. In this regard, the money that was channeled to corruption will be used for the development of the living standards of the people. Unlike the other solutions, which were, only applied by the Kenyan government, this current best option is a collaboration of many countries and institutions. Therefore, the current technological advancements will be used to ensure that there is no place to hide corruption in the social media. The freedom of expression will be enhanced as people will not be silenced by bribes so that they do not say the truth on particular issues affecting the society. Eventually, the only beneficiaries here will be the humble citizens. As such, this is the best solution that can be used to tame the increasing cases of social media corruption.
There is no doubt that this new solution will face criticisms based on several allegations. For instance, there is the probability that the critics will view this as a noble idea given the costs that are involved. In this regard, they will discredit the solution on the basis that it is untenable and unrealistic given the costs of mobilizing all those stakeholders. Additionally, there will be issues of the privacy of the social media users. However, all those criticisms are well catered for as the solution is up to date with the techniques used in the social media to make corrupt deals. This solution is not expensive as the expenses of its implementation will be cushioned by the various stakeholders in a shared manner. As such, the costs will be equally shared. On the issue of the right to privacy, it is notable that this right can be suspended so that the cases of corruption can be done away with. The right to privacy is not an absolute right. When the financial well-being of the state is at stake, some rights can be suspended so that the majority of the citizens do not continue to be poor while people propagate corruption activities in the social media. Concisely, this approach is very practical given the current techniques that are being deployed by social media users to further their corrupt deals. In the end, corruption practices in the social media will be a thing of the past when this solution is implemented.
To conclude, Kenya is having increased cases of social media corruption due to the increase in the number of social media users since the advent of the digital revolution. The solutions to the social media corruption in Kenya have been insufficient as they have failed to eradicate the vice. Specifically, the legislations passed are inefficient as they have been unable to match the current technological advancements. However, the implementation of a collaborative monitoring and reporting of incidences of corruption in the social media will help minimize the vice. Specifically, corruption epidemic prone states shou...
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