Zille: There's a troll unit manufacturing racist tweets

The WC premier says people have made it increasingly difficult for Twitter users to practice free speech.

FILE: Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says Twitter is becoming a threat to open debate and free speech because of the insults and vicious language used when someone tries to make a point.

She also claims that there is a troll unit that actually manufactures racist tweets.

Zille says Twitter used to be a platform for proper debate among South Africans but the level of insults and viciousness has changed it fundamentally.

"In many ways Twitter is becoming a threat to that kind of open free speech in South Africa rather than a platform to promote it."

While social media expert Jodene Sher says some people are now afraid to actually tweet in the way they used to.

"Everyone just wants to be there and be able to be themselves and it has become too much of a threat and too much of a frightening place to be able to just be yourself."

She says some people are actually leaving Twitter as a result.