The FPB has put into law a new act that aims to monitor and classify all content uploaded across the internet in South Africa by content creators and publications. Originally, we all thought this act aimed to monitor everyone but the FPB has clarified that the new guidelines do not apply to the average South African internet user. However, it does cover users who upload any prohibited content to the internet that the FPB deems as unfit. This includes child pornography, hate speech, content to entice war etc.
The big news from today’s livestream is that the FPB wants to control content creators, streamers and publications in South Africa by classifying all media uploaded to social media, YouTube and even Twitch. The FPB says that anyone who creates content with the intention to upload it online and make money off of it has to register with the body in order for them to classify the material and greenlight it for publishing.
This means if you are a YouTuber who has a monetized channel, your videos need to be classified before you can publish them. If you are an Instagram influencer and are being paid to share a video from a product, that needs to be sent to the FPB for classification.
The body has yet to tackle the issue surrounding live stream content and any form of media that is broadcast through a “live format”. The FPB simply failed to answer the various questions asked by media in regards to Twitch livestreams and even Instagram live videos. However, the FPB did state that all live stream content going forward will have to display the official age classification for the said game you are playing on the video the entire time. Failure to post this age classification will result in a fine of up to R50k or up to 6 months in jail.
The body says that South Africans shouldn’t look at this new act as a way to control their content. Rather, it is a safety precaution to usher in a safer online space for all users.
“Changes to the FPA Act seeks to modernise laws that protect the South African public from exposure to prohibited content distributed online, as well as exposure of children to harmful digital content that could have adverse psychological and behavioural impacts.
Laws are enacted to give effect to the rights enshrined in the Constitution. The FPA Act seeks to balance the right to freedom of expression with the responsibility to protect our citizens from harm and to maintain social cohesion.”
In order to comply with this new act, users need to now register and pay the FPB Council an annual fee for them to classify their content and approve it for general consumption. In addition, the body says there is an estimated 8-day turnaround time for them to classify your videos so you will be unable to post and share this during that duration.
There are still dozens of questions in the air about this new act. How does the FPB aim to control livestreaming content? What does this mean for the agreements already in place with platforms like YouTube and Facebook? What happens to the average joe who has a YouTube channel with “Let’s Play” videos with the intention to make money. What about tipping small channels during streams?
It seems like the FPB doesn’t have its understanding of the internet and content creation as much as they claim they do. The body still has a lot of ironing out to do here if they want this to work. During the stream, they kept telling media to refer to their definitions to clarify whether or not a user would fall into this act. The body also hasn’t revealed how they plan on monitoring content uploaded online without them screening it first.
You can read the full act and watch the stream below. I hope to share a more solid understanding of this soon.
FPB Act (DOWNLOAD)