The survey dubbed Kenyan Social Media Landscape analyses trends and emerging narratives in social media in 2020. It details that 47.7% of Kenyans are using pseudonyms when accessing social media.
A pseudonym is a fictitious name used by a social media account-holder to conceal his or her identity. Most men, 57.8%, have used pseudonyms in online conversations when using social media, compared to 42.1% of women.
Over 40.5% of social media users aged 21-25 years old have used pseudonyms in online conversations, followed by 26-35 year-olds at 28.8%, and 14-20 year-olds at 16.3%. The report further reveals that 58.8% of social media users in urban areas have used pseudonyms in online conversations compared with 41.2% of those in rural areas.
The use of pseudonyms is common among Nairobi’s low-income residents, with half of them (50%) having used anonymous identities in their online conversations.
Supporters of the use of pseudonyms indicated that an anonymous identity has its positive functions including its use by people with a dissenting point of view, whistle blowers, and victims of violence.
The people who argue in support of the use of real names also point out that using one’s real identity fosters civil discourse and discourages social media trolling, deceiving, spamming, and cyber-bullying.
The survey added that research has shown anonymity can lead to negative behavior online, particularly against women such as trolling, flaming, lurking, and deception, as perpetrators may be less accountable for the consequences of their actions. Most men (63.1%) have used pseudonyms on Twitter, whereas most of the women (42.7%) have used pseudonyms on Facebook online conversations.
Another new trend in which men are leading in is choosing their mobile browsers to access social media over mobile apps. 39.6% of women and 60.3% of men access their mobile networking sites using mobile browsers.
Those using a mobile browser to access social media indicated that mobile browsers offer more privacy as compared to mobile apps that access personal data on users’ location, contact lists and messages, and require permissions to access specified content in a user’s phone to fulfill their functionalities.
Generally, Kenyans spend more time on social media at night and in the evening hours after work.