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Around Africa tensions are evident between the rapid commercialization and deregulation of traditional media and increasing pressures for a compliant media discourse from commercial and state media proprietors. Social media demonstrate an unprecedented ability for the politically engaged to both bypass and influence traditional information flows, but social media use faces unique circumstances through much of Africa, due to an underdeveloped telecommunications infrastructure, limited (though rapidly increasing) extra-urban mobile access, and bandwidth limitations in many areas. There has been a rapid escalation in the numbers of people using Twitter to monitor and to disseminate information, and the use of mobile devices is also skyrocketing amid massive marketing campaigns dominated by a few multinational providers. While use of social media may be less constrained by government control in Africa than elsewhere, its role remains largely untested in the context of general under-development and limited ICT penetration.

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