Adding to the heat between the Hawks and the South Africa’s Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, a pro-Gordhan group on Facebook has been stopped from growing on grounds of misusing the social network.
By this, members of the group can no longer invite their friends to the group. According to Facebook, the group was growing too fast.
The response leaves many wondering what the essence of starting up a Facebook page or group is in the first place. Many enterprises and movements use the social network for publicity and sensitization.
The greater the number, the greater the reach and efficiency of the group. So for Facebook to restrict the addition of friends on the South African civic page at a politically charged time as now seems somewhat suspicious.
On Sunday, about 13,400 members of the ‘Support For Pravin Gordhan And A Better South Africa’ group on Facebook were blocked from inviting their friends.
The Admin for the group, Satish Dhupelia has found the development very strange. On trying to get to the root of the enforced restrictions from the social network, the admin got this message on the Help Page:
“We have limits in place to prevent abuse of our features and to protect people from spam and harassment. Limits are based on different factors‚ like speed and quantity‚ but we can’t provide additional details on the rate limits that are enforced.”
Dhupelia admitted to have added about 4000 friends to the group. He says in a situation where they did not want to be part of the group, the admin alone should have been blocked and not all the members of the group.
“I really don’t know what to think. I find it suspicious.
“If you stop me from adding people‚ because I did add 4000 friends and if they didn’t want to be on the group‚ then maybe you can block me from adding people. But to block every member from adding even one person to the group is strange.”
In other words, the super-quick growth of the Pro-Gordhan group is tantamount to abusing the social network by virtue of “growing too fast”.
This recent development in South Africa is coinciding with the allegations of former Facebook workers that the social network is guilty of suppressing conservative news on regular bases. Facebook however denied the accusation.
The Pro-Gordhan group admin has tried reaching the social network, explaining the urgency of growing the civic group.
The growth of the group could help influence the trajectory of the case between the Hawks and Gordhan Pravin whom it is largely believed to be victimized by the ruling government.
So far, the social network has not given any response. Perhaps there is a more ethical reason for the shut down.
For what it is worth, the rapid growth on Facebook speaks volume of Gordhan Pravin’s popularity with the South African people.