M-Net Apologises for Crude SMS

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By Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK

M-Net has apologised for an offensive and crude SMS that appeared on the SMS strap line last Sunday night shortly after the last eviction that saw Zimbabwe’s Bertha leave the Big Brother Africa 2 house.

The offending SMS, which read: “U r all a bunch of kaffirs”, stunned viewers as they sat glued to the television screening of the reality show.

“I could not believe my eyes!” said an outraged BBA2 enthusiast.

“I wondered how that message could have been screened when there is a constant reminder to viewers to ‘keep it [the SMS messages] clean, and in English’, mind you,” said the Namibia-based viewer.

The SMSs have become as much a part of the goings-on of the BBA2 show as the drama inside the much-watched house where people comment on their favourite – or least favourite – housemates, sending messages to their friends and families, and carries the cross-continental bickering as participating countries try and bolster their countrymen’s – and women’s – reputations in the house.

Some viewers have also complained that their messages never get screened despite the fact that theirs are “intelligent”, saying that many of the messages aired often come from the same senders, and that continuous “insulting” messages are put on.

“Every effort is taken to ensure that these SMS messages are automatically and manually moderated and filtered before they are screened,” responded M-Net when approached for comment.

“In this instance, unfortunately, this message cleared the filter system due to spelling issues.”

M-Net assured viewers that it will continue to moderate the hundreds of thousands of SMS messages the show draws to ensure that offensive messages sent in by [such] individuals are not screened.

According to M-Net the SMS/text messages sent from across the continent are routed to a central database where they are passed through a word filter that automatically identifies certain words and phrases.

Any message containing these terms are highlighted for the individuals assigned to moderate and publish messages to the SMS strap.

Every message is then queued in a sophisticated moderation tool, which allows moderators to read the full content of each message.

“These individuals can then either approve the message to be published on air or decline it, based on the suitability of the language and content, readability and time-based validity,” M-Net indicated.

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