South Africa's #SocialMediaBlackout is trending...does this make it unsuccessful?
A South African social media blackout began at midnight last night, and will last for 24 hours. As a protest against extortionate data costs, South Africans are being encouraged to abstain from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms today. However, during this ‘boycott’, protest hashtags #datamustfall and #socialmediablackout have been trending on Twitter. Does this mean that the protest has been ineffective?
Before the boycott began, we spoke to poet and activist Ntsiki Mazwai. A major proponent of the blackout, Mazwai encouraged her 80k+ Twitter followers to eschew social media platforms from midnight 21 June.
“We have the second highest data costs is the world,” she told us. “There is only one message: data prices must fall. We want at least a 50 percent slash.”
Mazwai called for South African’s not to buy data or log in to social platforms today.
However, there has been a lot of tweeting about the boycott going on today, so it’s unclear just how successful the blackout is.
Demands for data price reduction on social media aren’t new. South African DJ Tbo Touch launched the #datamustfall campaign last year, and South African's have been tweeting about it since.
“The denial of access to information is a denial of a basic human right,” Mazwai said. “High data costs have such a negative impact on society. Students can’t access their work, entrepreneurs can’t run their business effectively.”
Mazwai hopes the campaign will force South African telco companies to cut their data prices. Will the likes of Vodacom, Telkom, C Cell and MTN take note? Will they respond to the boycott, or has it been unsuccessful? Watch this space…
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”