File picture: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Johannesburg - The Zimbabwean government has warned that it will crack down on social media after accusing it of spreading false rumours of shortages and causing panic buying of fuel and other goods, Reuters reported Thursday.

Amid a mounting economic crisis, which has included most service stations in Harare running out of fuel since Monday and long queues outside those that are still selling, Harare has placed the blame on social media and said it would take unspecified measures.

“The trigger to the artificial shortages that was created was most unexpected. In fact, it was like a bombshell because there were no shortages in the market,” Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.

“The cause basically was social media. Of course it means its a security issue, it is also a political agenda, a regime change agenda. We are going to look at what exactly happened with a view to take corrective measures in the security arena.”