MTN’s decision to stop offering free Twitter usage can kill “Black Twitter”, users have warned.
MTN launched its free Twitter promotion in May 2014, offering subscribers who loaded any of its MTN Internet Services free access to Twitter.
Millions of MTN subscribers benefitted from the free Twitter service, but this will come to an end at midnight on 25 September.
MTN said it had over 13 million Twitter users on its network in August 2018, with 1.9 petabytes of data being used on the network per month.
“Overall usage trends towards video and images have determined that it is no longer feasible to offer a service like Twitter for free due to the cost and demand it places on the network.”
The cancellation of the free Twitter service follows MTN recently placing a 500MB daily usage cap on its free Twitter offering – following the exploitation of the service by hackers.
Black Twitter taking a hit
Users have now warned that MTN’s decision can mean the end of “Black Twitter”.
Black Twitter is described as “a cultural identity on the Twitter social network focused on issues of interest to the black community”.
Commentators are arguing that MTN’s free Twitter use has given a voice to many young black people in South Africa.
With the end of free Twitter data, this group may see a big decline in users.
Comments regarding MTN’s decision included “Long live to the spirit of Black Twitter long live” and “by law we as Black Twitter we can sue you [for] millions”.
Black Twitter criticism
Many people have criticised Black Twitter for not being objective and attacking people without always knowing the full story, however.
One of these people are former South African Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni, who labelled Black Twitter and “mostly young people” who were “uninformed and illiterate”.
Twitter user Sipho Mandla said free Twitter allowed the EFF to build a huge online presence by manipulating the poor, uneducated, and misinformed with racial hatred and snake oil policies.
“The end of free Twitter is a blow to the proliferation of hatred and communist propaganda among South Africans. Happy days,” he said.