South African non-government organisations (NGOs) in the GBV space observed an underwhelming amount of public attention on Social Media. This was revealed in two reports released on 1 February 2024 by the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC) after conducting an analysis of social media engagement data from 20 South African NGOs in the social media space.

The GBV and Misogyny Social Media Analytics Report 7 by CABC found that the content related to the 16 Days of Activism campaign, which ran between 25 November 2023 and 10 December 2023, received very low engagement on social media, except for the posts from Women For Change (WFC) and Keep the Energy.

The GBV and Misogyny Social Media Analytics Report 8 by CABC unpacks the social media engagement of twenty organisations operating within the online gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) space.

These organisations include Women For Change, Keep The Energy, Sonke Gender Justice, Shukumisa, POWA (People Opposed to Women Abuse), Rape Crisis, TEARS, End GBVF Collective, The Justice Desk, Saartjie Baartman Centre, Father A Nation, Heartlines, WMACA (Women and Men Against Child Abuse), Manned Up Conversations, Soul City Institute for Social Justice, Shared Value Africa Initiative, Childline, MenEngageAfrica/Alliance, Gender Links and Kwanele.

All twenty organisations work in diverse ways across modalities, both digital and on the ground, to support equality and the rights of all to life and safety – specifically focusing on working toward the end of victimisation, misogyny and GBVF within the country. The researchers analysed the online engagement of these organisations and not their on-the-ground impact.

This report aims to generate a deeper understanding of gender discrimination through an analysis of public social media.

The GBV and Misogyny Social Media Analytics Report 8

With over 800,000 followers across all social media platforms, South African NGOs dedicate their accounts to the fight against GBVF in South Africa. This is a clear response to the sheer failure of the government to deal with GBV cases, coupled with the failure of the media to fulfil its mandate in highlighting this pandemic.

The most represented accounts in terms of followership were Women For Change, accounting for 34.7%, Keep the Energy (19.2%), Soul City (8.4%) and Sonke (6.8%). The remaining organisations held a followership between 0% and 4% individually, representing 30.9% of the followership data.

Women For Change has the largest followership and average engagement per post in the cohort. The organisation is involved in a variety of activities designed to bring attention to the crisis of GBVF in South Africa and utilises social media as a vehicle for driving positive change. With a presence on all social media platforms, the organisation amplifies cases and outcomes of GBVF alongside the dissemination of accessible educational material. Furthermore, WFC creates an online community and provides support for survivors both online and on the ground.

The GBV and Misogyny Social Media Analytics Report 8 stated Women For Change also had the highest Share of Engagement (SOE) at 43.1%, followed by Keep The Energy (26.3%) and Kwanele (12.85%). WFC has more than 280,000 followers across all social media platforms and, on average, more than 10,000 interactions (likes, shares, comments) per post.

Data Reportal’s 2023 Report on South African social media estimates that there are 25.8 million social media users in the country. Facebook accounted for the largest share of followers at 42.6%, followed by Instagram (28.6%), TikTok (12.4%), Twitter/X (11.2%), LinkedIn (3.3%) and YouTube (2%).

Engagement predominantly stemmed from Instagram at 61.3%, followed by TikTok (15.6%), Youtube (13.8%), Facebook (4.5%), Twitter/X (4.4%) and LinkedIn (0.5%).

This is an interesting finding because it shows that while NGOs may have a large following on Facebook, people are far more likely to engage with content from these organisations if their content is posted on Instagram or TikTok.

Some factors that could influence this behaviour include the different age groups of users (Instagram and TikTok have a much younger audience) and/or the type of content that is predominantly found on platforms using mainly multimedia content, such as Instagram, as opposed to more text-based platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The GBV and Misogyny Social Media Analytics Report 7

Report 7 by CABC focuses on engagement relating to 16 Days of Activism content as well as general conversations in the GBV space. The report showed that while all twenty NGOs (the same NGOs that were analysed in Report 8) posted on social media during the 16 Days of Activism campaign, they did not generate high engagement during the period between 25 November and 10 December 2023. The CABC, through its social media analytics, tracked the conversation through this period with the aim of establishing what conversations were taking place.

Some of the findings in Report 7 were:

  • The content with the highest engagement over the 16 Days of Activism was mainly misogynistic content posted by influencers. No posts relating to GBVF made it to the top 10 posts during this period. Other high-traction content was published by news outlets with an established following.
  • Campaigns run by NGOs working in the GBV space did not generate high engagement during the 16 Days of Activism period. However, Women for Change garnered significant engagement on their posts. Posts by WFC differed from others in the space in that they had an emotive characteristic.
  • A lot of online conversations during 16 Days of Activism surrounded absent fatherhood, the role of men, hate speech and ownership. Content related to misogyny continued to trend during the 16 Days of Activism period, often gaining more engagement than the actual awareness campaigns.

The report by CABC suggests that efforts should be directed towards amplifying positive content by NGOs in order to spread awareness and information around GBV and that it might be beneficial for organisations on the platform to tailor their campaigns (like Women for Change) for social media to attract more engagement.

Organisational campaigns and responses

This section in Report 7 showcases a select few organisational social media campaigns over 16 Days of Activism. The report stated:

“Women For Change ran an emotive campaign focused on women’s biggest fears. This campaign was primarily run on Instagram, but the organisation also posted updates on their X page. In one of their X posts, they note that one of the most common answers to the question was to not end up on their page, i.e. to have fallen victim to Gender-Based Violence or femicide.

The responses to this campaign were largely dejection on the part of women. Others applauded the organisation for bringing the human cost to the fore and not treating these bodies as statistics. There were also calls for the government to do more and take stronger action against the perpetrators. There has not been complete support, with some questioning the organisation for focusing only on women and children while men and boys also suffer.”

CABC further stated that the other campaigns by Sonke Gender Justice, Justice Desk Africa, Father A Nation, and Soul City were found to have very low engagement.

“Again, we find very low engagement on these campaigns due to the lack of a clear social media strategy that could facilitate engagement. One could raise questions with these organisations about the intentions behind the campaigns they created.”

CABC further said that the campaigns were not as impactful as they could have been if:

  1. Social media was used more effectively;
  2. There was a coordinated effort between civil society and government for constructive public and social media discourse on this important issue.

As such, Report 7 suggests that government, civil society and the public at large should be concerned over the following possibilities:

  • That GBV-media and news fatigue was likely setting in;
  • That the resources invested in the campaign did not have the desired impact; or
  • The campaign appears to have lost its meaning on social media. This “calls for deep introspection and a renewed energy to revive the campaign and inspire public interest in new ways that captivate the attention of especially young people,” read the report.

Download the:

GBV and Misogyny Social Media Analytics Report 7

GBV and Misogyny Social Media Analytics Report 8 

or visit: Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC)

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