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state information

Confusion over Secrecy Bill signing causes a Twitterstorm

Social media South Africa TM has been going crazy for the last hour or so, as many highly respected journalists took to Twitter to tell the world that President Zuma had signed a copy of the Protection of State Information Act 43 of 2013 into law, despite the fact that it was referred back to parliament just a few weeks ago.

Obviously this would be an outrage. It’s a horror that such a Bill is on the verge of being signed into reality, but to do it without proper parliamentary notification and while the nation mourns Mandela would be a travesty.

Fortunately, it turned out that the news wasn’t actually news at all, and appears to have been triggered by an official copy of the Act being attached to notes and gazettes of today’s parliamentary proceedings, for no apparent reason than to scare us. But here, with the magic of Storify, are the highlights of the afternoon’s fun. It all goes to show that on Twitter, nothing is more important than verifying facts before hitting Send.

It’s a great example of Twitter’s self-correcting mechanism too. Even for information as hard to clarify as this, it was minutes, rather than hours before the truth was sort of out. The Presidency has now confirmed that the Bill has not been signed.

Incidentally, this is the first time I’ve found Storify really useful for much. Enjoy.

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