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Types of messages you are prohibited from sharing on WhatsApp due to new law

The Films and Publications Amendment Act is a law that will greatly restrict the types of messages you can send on the platform. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe

The Films and Publications Amendment Act is a law that will greatly restrict the types of messages you can send on the platform. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe

Published Mar 2, 2022

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially approved the Films and Publications Amendment Act, a law that will greatly restrict the types of messages you can send on social media platforms.

The law came into effect on Tuesday, March 1. Here are the types of messages you are prohibited from sharing on WhatsApp:

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Revenge pornography

It is prohibited to disseminate revealing or sexually explicit images or videos of a person without their consent in order to cause harm, humiliate or distress them.

This is usually done by former or current partners of the individual who is the subject of the content.

However, if the person consented or if the sharing of the images or videos was due to wanting to prevent or investigate crime, the law does not apply.

People who disregard this law and post private content without the consent of the individual will be found guilty of an offence and could potentially be fined up to R150 000 or be sent to prison for almost two years.

Hate Speech

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Advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion that constitutes incitement to cause harm is now prohibited on the platform.

Anyone found guilty of distributing such speech faces the R150 000 fine or a two-year prison sentence.

Internet service providers are also going to be required to flag the sharing of illegal content or be liable to a fine for hosting it. Formerly known as the Internet Censorship Bill, this law stroked fears of South Africans being denied internet freedom.

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WhatsApp already encourages users to think carefully about what they share with their contacts.

However, the messenger app still has the ‘view once’ feature, which allows users to send pictures or videos that will only be seen once and cannot be saved on the recipient’s phone.

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