Highly monitored by Bangui authorities because of their ability to convey information very quickly, social networks are one of the main means of communication in the Central African Republic and they play a key role in the daily lives of Central Africans, despite the country’s low Internet penetration rate. Although social networks are popular among a fringe of the young population in the country’s major cities, their influence on the informative behaviour of Internet users is constantly growing. While no official study has been conducted to determine the rate of social network usage in the country, Internet service providers estimate that about 40 percent of Internet users are social media users. Among them, 90 percent connect from mobile phones.
Facebook, widely used by the majority of Internet users, is by far the most popular social network in the country and is open to everyone, including disadvantaged or small groups. After 2017, Facebook pages linked to armed groups have also appeared.
The second most popular social network is Twitter, used increasingly by all social categories, yet remaining the favourite tool of journalists, politicians, staff of international organisations, civil society and civil servants. Networks such as YouTube or LinkedIn have a very limited popularity.
Through live videos and discussion and information sharing groups, the influence of social networks reaches the heart of power in Bangui. This leads some advisers to the President of the Republic, government ministers and selected officials, to be present on social networks in order to interact directly with Internet users on important topics of the moment.