MXit is decrying media reports that it says misuse its name in what is believes is a trend to sensationalise headlines. The social networking player, which has 15-million global users, is taking legal counsel about whether recent reports are a breack of the South African Press Code, or even defamation.
The company says that misleading and inaccurate use of its name on reports across various media – television, radio, print and online – are of concern.
Recently, MXit's name came up in relation to a teenager who went missing for 48 hours. Her parents reported that the girl may have met someone on MXit, who could be involved in her disappearance.
MXit contends that, although the case is being investigated, there is no proof that a conversation with an unknown person on MXit led to the girl’s disappearance.
“We cannot condone this behaviour or attack on our brand and are simply calling on the media to be accurate in their reporting and headlining of stories," says MXit's international marketing manager Juan du Toit. "MXit is not the problem. We offer a system that allows people to communicate at a fraction of the cost of sending SMS or voice calls. Our users send approximately 35 000 messages per second during peak times and the MXit community visits our platform more than 20 million times a day.
"Even if it does emerge that she accepted a friend request from a stranger, it is not fair to condemn a technology of close to 15-million users for bad choices made by one user."
MXit has responded with a strongly-worded message to its community spelling out its position and condemning some news reports.
“We take great care in ensuring that our users are consistently warned to use our network responsibly, to only accept contacts from people that they know and to never reveal their personal information,” says Du Toit.
In addition to strict security measures for its users, MXit has also developed guidelines to help empower parents.
“We offer a technology that allows users to communicate in a secure and inexpensive way," he adds. "Although we understand that technology is sometimes difficult for parents to understand, we believe that they need to take responsibility for teaching their teenagers how to engage responsibly on all communications platform.
"We have a chat room blocking feature that allows parents to shut down the chat room capability if they believe their teens are interacting inappropriately."