Social Media platforms assist SAPS in July Unrest investigations, three more to appear in court

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15 August 2022, SABC News

Director of Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) William Bird says Twitter should assist law enforcement agencies in cases in which crimes have been committed.

The social media platform helped the South African Police Services (SAPS) track down July riots instigators.

The Hawks say three alleged instigators who were arrested over the weekend in connection with the public violence and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July last year will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The weekend arrest brings the total number of people apprehended to 25.

William says there are conditions under which Twitter is allowed to assist the police.

“They don’t hand over information about anyone unless it’s coming from and has gone through the right kind of channels, such as from platform to platform, some of them. All of them will require official documents that come from the police themselves and it can’t just be a junior police officer,” says William.

“So, there’s a pretty intense legal process that follows to make sure that they are handing it over to a legitimate authority that is part of a legitimate, legal process and there are legitimate reasons why these people are asking for it,” adds William.

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