Twitter, for most people, is an open and public platform where they can share thoughts, news and things of interest.
Amongst the flood of information, however, sometimes the simplest thing said in anger or jest – or by pure accident – can land you in hot water.
These casual Twitter users in South Africa found out the hard way that not everything you think should be put out on a public platform.
Racism is not something to be proud of – nor is it something to flaunt on social media; but former FHM model and “just a girl” Jessica Leandra never got that particular memo.
Tweeting about an incident which Leandra claimed was to do with “sexual harassment”, she vented her anger on the very public Twitter platform – and cooked up a social media storm in the process.
Upon further investigation, it was found that it wasn’t the first time Leandra had expressed unsavoury views.
After receiving a huge amount of complaints for her tweets, Leandra issued an apology – but FHM had already stripped her of her Modelbook 2011 title, and she lost her sponsorship with Quick Trim SA.
Not one to learn a lesson from others’ mistakes, South African “actress and model”, Tshidi Thamana caused major upset with some racist tweets of her own.
In response to Jessica Leandra’s ill-thought-out racist ranting, Thamana fired back at Leandra – and all white people – with her own views.
The old addage “two wrongs don’t make a right” rang true, as Twitter users hit back at Thamana with the same zest as they did Leandra.
As a result of the whole fiasco, both models ultimately met up to make peace and restore their damaged social media images.
The official Twitter account for the South African presidency caused a bit of a stir on Twitter when the account manager slipped in a bit of a personal quip.
The response to the tweet was largely negative, with most South Africans telling the presidency to focus on more important things.
While president Jacob Zuma may have indeed been a bit bummed that he was missing Idols, the presidency was quick to follow up and notify its followers that the views expressed were not of Zuma or the presidency.
2012 saw the “high profile” Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye murder trial come to a close after 2 years in the courts.
Maarohanye was charged and convicted of murder and several other charges for killing 4 students after losing control of his vehicle while drag racing in 2010.
After being found guilty, McIntosh Polela, spokesperson for the the SAPS special task team, the HAWKS, couldn’t resist tweeting about the case.
Polela’s tweet marked yet another occasion in 2012 when silence was probably the better option, as it drew a lot of negative attention from the local Twittersphere.
Polela’s Vaseline tweet effectively got him fired from his position – though it remains unconfirmed that it was the primary reason for his suspension.
Tragedy struck the Linkin Park concert in Cape Town after an advert tied to scaffolding collapsed on a crowd at the show, injuring 19 people and killing a young woman.
It didn’t take long for the cruelty of the Internet to catch up and start making light of the situation.
While jokes about the tragedy soon started circulating, it was ENews Channel Africa sports anchor, Lance Witten, who faced public rage for his insensitive tweet about the event.
Witten, initially unapologetic about the tweet, did ultimately express regret, and was abruptly suspended from eNCA.
He has since returned to air after receiving a written warning, and was ordered to attend social media training. Perhaps the same should be applied to everyone else featured here.