Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema took to Twitter early on Thursday morning to post a screenshot showing that someone had reported his Twitter bio to the platform.
His bio reads: “Commander in Chief of Economic Freedom Fighters [EFF] and a Revolutionary activist for radical change in Africa. No Facebook Account.”
Why someone felt this was offensive enough to report to Twitter or who reported it is unclear.
Twitter’s response explains that they “investigated the reported content and could not identify any violations of Twitter Rules or applicable law”.
“Accordingly, we have not taken action at this time,” the message from Twitter concludes.
The enemy is not sleeping!!! pic.twitter.com/BR35mc9MFx
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) June 26, 2019
Both individual tweets and a person’s profile content can be reported on Twitter. If you are reporting a profile, it can be reported for “adult”, “graphic” or “hateful” content. Which of the three Malema was reported for is not detailed in the message Twitter sent him, but due to his radical politics and the “hate speech” charges often levelled against him, it is most likely the last of the three options.
Malema’s bio isn’t even mildly controversial compared to some of his past statements.
While some prominent politicians, such as former Western Cape premier Helen Zille, have caused outrage with their comments on Twitter, Malema’s most contentious statements are usually made during his speeches.
READ MORE: Malema’s comments not hate speech – SAHRC
He has been reported to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for a range of statements, including for saying that he was not calling for the killing of white people “at least for now”, for saying at a KwaZulu-Natal rally than Indian South Africans do not treat black people properly and for saying on another occasion that the majority of Indian people were racist. He has also been accused of “hate speech” for his singing of the song which contains the lyrics “dubul‘ibhunu”, often translated as “kill the boer”.
A batch of five hate speech complaints against Malema were dismissed by the SAHRC earlier this year, with the commission finding that while they were “hurtful,” they did not constitute “hate speech”.
While Malema’s speeches often elicit more controversy than his Twitter account, he has been known to insult people on the platform – usually journalists. He has told investigative journalist Pauli van Wyk: “You are sick, go to hell satan” and told another investigative journo, Jacques Pauw: “You can go f^*€£ yourself”. He also shared editor and journalist Karima Brown’s number and accused her of sending “moles” to an EFF event, which led to threats against her. This led to a court case which Brown won, finding that the EFF and Malema had breached the Electoral Code.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)