This book reflects on the rapid rise of social media across the African continent and the legal and extra-legal efforts governments have invented to try to contain it.

The relentless growth of social media platforms in Africa has provided the means of resistance, self-expression, and national self-fashioning for the continent’s restlessly energetic and contagiously creative youth. This has provided a profound challenge to the African "gatekeeper state", which has often responded with strategies to constrict and constrain the rhetorical luxuriance of the social media and digital sphere. Drawing on cases from across the continent, contributors explore the form and nature of social media and government censorship, often via antisocial media laws, or less overt tactics such as state cybersurveillance, spyware attacks on social media activists, or the artful deployment of the rhetoric of "fake news" as a smokescreen to muzzle critical voices. The book also reflects on the Chinese influence in African governments’ clampdown on social media and the role of Israeli NSO Group Technologies, as well as the tactics and technologies which activists and users are deploying to resist or circumvent social media censorship.

Drawing on a range of methodologies and disciplinary approaches, this book will be an important contribution to researchers with an interest in social media activism, digital rebellion, discursive democracy in transitional societies, censorship on the Internet, and Africa more broadly.

chapter |18 pages


The Gatekeeper State Meets Digital Citizen Panoptic Gaze

part I|80 pages

Background on Social Media and Internet Censorship in Africa

chapter 2|21 pages

His Excellency, the Internet and Outraged Citizens

An Analysis of the Big Man Syndrome and Internet Shutdowns in Africa

chapter 3|18 pages

Capital, the State, and the Digital Divide

A Critical Reflection on Social Media Censorship in Ghana

chapter 4|23 pages

Between State Interests and Citizen Digital Rights

Making Sense of Internet Shutdowns in Zimbabwe

part II|96 pages

Protest Journalism and Citizen Dissidence on Social Media

chapter 1005|18 pages

Countering Hegemony in Zimbabwe's Cyber Sphere

A Study of Dissident Digital Native Group #Tajamuka

chapter 6|20 pages

Cyber Space as Battlefield for Nationalist and Separatist Groups

A Study of Nigeria's Indigenous People of Biafra Online Propaganda

chapter 8|20 pages

From Facebook to FaceBimeeza

How Ugandans Used Facebook to Replace Banned Radio Political Debate During the 2016 Presidential Elections

part III|72 pages

Social Media Repression and State Surveillance

chapter 11|21 pages

Powers, Interests and Actors 1

The Influence of China in Africa's Digital Surveillance Practices

chapter 12|12 pages

Social Mediated Crisis Communication

Legitimacy, Significant Choice, and Censorship in the Armed Conflict in Cameroon