Customers of Chase Bank, Kenya’s best-known midsize financial institution (unaffiliated with its U.S. namesake), rushed to empty their accounts in 2016 after a talk show personality falsely tweeted that large sums were missing amid a fraud investigation. The rumor first began in a WhatsApp group and quickly spread on other platforms.
Did the tweet kill the bank? It survived federal receivership, but, writes Nanjala Nyabola in Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics, repercussions show just how vulnerable Kenya is to digital brush fires. “If social media can bring down a bank,” Nyabola wonders, “can it bring down a government?”