ZICTA has recorded a total of 791 complaints regarding social media abuse during 2019, with the majority of the cases lodged in from women.

According to data from ZICTA’s Cyber Matrix, which is used to profile perpetrators, victims and the possible vulnerability used in committing different cybercrimes, a grand total of 791 complaints were lodged at ZICTA last year, the highest being in January of 252, the lowest in May of 8.

The case types highlighted by ZICTA indicated that the highest number emanated from mobile scams, 503, while the lowest was cited as ‘sextortion’ at 14.

Pornography, fake news and cyber bullying equally ranked at second, third and fourth highest numbers at 70, 55 and 47 cases, respectively.

Data from the Matrix, which indicated a surge in social media abuse, suggests that there had been a rapid adoption and uptake in mobile Internet services in the country, coupled with globalization, which created opportunities for both users and criminals.

“Since January, 2019, ZICTA recorded 791 complaints regarding social media abuse. The prevalence of social media usage and the ability to interact anonymously were two of the biggest reasons why cybercrimes on social networking sites went wild in Zambia,” ZICTA’s corporate communications manager Ngabo Nankonde stated in a press release, Wednesday.

“It is worth noting that about 74 per cent of the cases logged in were from 209 women, while 64 men lodged in their complaints. The reason for the gender variation in the number of people who lodged in complaints was partly because women appeared more vulnerable than men on various social media platforms. The Authority is cognizant of the fact that while 791 are the cases that have been reported to ZICTA, there were other cases that consumers experienced in 2019, which were not reported to the Authority.”

Data equally revealed that the breakdown of the number of attacks per social media platform were the highest on Facebook closely followed by WhatsApp.

By age-group, the complaints lodged into the Authority show that the highest number of complaints emanated from the 36-40 and 22-25 year-brackets.

Meanwhile, she appealed to all users of social media platforms to exercise maximum restraint and show more respect for other users.

“Going forward, the Authority expects members of the general public to exercise maximum personal responsibility, self-regulation as well as respect for other users when using social media platforms,” stated Nankonde.