Social networks

In the DRC, social networks have become the means of rapid communication with easy and massive access to information (photos, videos, voice messages, etc). The most used are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It is within the framework of the continuously increasing use of social networks that a network called E-Influencers has been created in the DRC. Formally grouped on July 7, 2017 with the support of MONUSCO (BCNUDH), it has set up a guide to frame its work through a sort of self-regulation mechanism. The group affirms that they are "convinced that the promotion, the protection and the enjoyment of freedoms constitute for the e-influencers a means of concretising the public's right to information, advocated by the Congolese Constitution and by the legal instruments at international and regional levels and to which the DRC is a part. Congolese E-Influencers committed themselves "to promote these freedoms through online activity in the strict observance of ethics".

The social networks are most often used by young Congolese to exchange personal information, photos, and short videos. They are also used to distribute press articles "picked up" on the Internet through free access sites. Interest in their use is generally very limited to the only members of the constituted groups. There are no national statistics on their access and use, and their influence on the opinion mobilisation, for example, remains low, not because of the small number of users but because most distributed messages are of very limited interest to the public opinion with respect to individual members of constituted groups.

It should be noted that social networks play a very important role in the public debate as well as in the rapid and widespread sharing of information. They allow all leaders to easily mobilise their supporters. They also allow human rights defenders and journalists to issue timely warnings and information, especially in sensitive cases. For example, during the 2011 elections and the 2018 elections, social networks were used extensively to warn of human rights violations, electoral cheating, irregularities in the electoral process, and so on. They have also been used to distribute evidence such as images, videos, audio recordings, etc. Most of the messages distributed by social networks have blamed public institutions, particularly the one in charge of the electoral process. Between 2014 and 2015, social networks played an important role in raising awareness on the proposed constitutional amendment. On January 15, 2015, thanks to massive mobilisation, public protests stopped the ongoing attempts to change the constitution. If the current government of the DRC is able to understand the role and importance of these networks, it could use them or persuade them to pass messages of information and mobilise public opinion on several issues still affecting the population such as different pandemics and endemic diseases (including Ebola, cholera, diseases related to poor hygiene, etc).