In a proposal which is likely to cause an uproar, the government of Tanzania has reportedly banned civil servants from using social media and chat apps during office hours.
The BBC reports that Makame Mbarawa, the Transport and Communications minister warned officials that “gossiping” on social media will lead to dismissal. Mbarawa noted that social media use was affecting productivity and the ministry should set a positive example to other ministries.
However, it is unclear how the ministry will enforce the proposed regulation.
The proposal is likely to cause widespread disgruntlement considering the popularity of social networking sites and raises legitimate questions around the regulation of social media use by employers.
The merits of the proposal to restrict social media use citing reduction in productivity levels are debatable considering the government has not revealed whether there is empirical evidence to support the claim.
While there are corporates that restrict the use of social networking sites in the workplace citing reasons such as protection of privacy and productivity drain amongst other threats, there are indeed positives.
Weighing in on his debate, should the government soften its stance on access to social media platforms during office hours or enforce restrictions? There could be a middle-ground, where employees are allowed access to social networking sites but the government monitors the usage of such sites to ensure employees are not spending too much time on the platforms.