Invisible Children’s video titled, Kony 2012, has captured more online views faster than any other video, beating Susan Boyle’s audition on “Britain’s Got Talent”to become the Internet’s most explosive viral video.

However with the stunning success, has come hard criticism – questions have been asked about the eight-year-old group’s finances, its relationships with some evangelical Christian groups and its projects on the ground in Uganda. Journalists and everyday punters alike have also voiced concerns that the 30-minute film, created primarily for its core audience of U.S. high school and college students, fails to address the complex politics in the region or fully explain that Uganda pushed out Mr. Kony years ago.

In Uganda, screenings of the video were suspended after people expressed first confusion and then anger over the film, reports Malcom Webb for Al Jazeera. He noted that many people saw it as a “foreign, inaccurate account that belittled and commercialized their suffering…”

At the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin this week, #Kony2012 came up multiple times in discussions at various panels about advocacy and social media. And there were at least two pop-up sessions at which people debated the merits of the campaign, asking what do 70 million plus views mean, and posted shared notes from one of the sessions on a Google doc.

While the story has kicked up awareness for the sins of one deranged man now lost somewhere beyond the Congolese border  – has it done more damage than good? Or has it simply been another ‘fad’ in our fast moving, trends-led global marketplace.

Trust me – Kony 2012 will be soon eclipsed by the next BIG thing in social media, all the dollars raised will disappear on Invisible Children’s staff salaries and overheads roll, and the problems faced by the people of Uganda and Congo will continue unless Africans rise up and face tyrants like Kony themselves.

Final note: Does one Joseph Kony have any idea he’s caused all this fuss in social media? And more importantly, does he care? I don’t think so.

 NEWSFLASH: reports:

The public meltdown of one of the co-founders of lobby group Invisible Children has seen discussion shift from #Kony2012 to #Bony2012.

Jason Russell was briefly detained last week after he was seen pacing a Californian street naked, screaming, clapping and bashing his fists on the pavement.

He has since been transferred to a medical facility where he is receiving further evaluation and treatment.

Kony 2012 Filmmaker Jason RussellJason Russell … being treated.


The Twitter hashtag #Kony2012, which has been trending worldwide since the campaign video of the same name emerged this month, has recently been overshadowed by a new hashtag – #Bony2012 – mocking the Russell episode.

The activist’s wife, Danica Russell, has denied claims her husband’s bizarre behaviour was fuelled by drugs or alcohol.

“But yes, he did some irrational things brought on by extreme exhaustion and dehydration,” she said in a statement.

A police spokeswoman, Andrea Brown, was quoted as saying that one person had said Mr Russell was ”naked and masturbating”.

A video of the incident, which has attracted more than half a million views, has detracted from the campaign’s original film, which has had more than 100 million views since it was posted to YouTube this month.

In an opinion piece for The Atlantic, brain injury physician Ford Vox has labelled the #Bony 2012 and #Horny2012 hashtags “tasteless”.

“This is not an office temper tantrum,” he wrote. “It is much more likely that he was experiencing a psychotic episode – a manic state – an event as recognisable to some clinicians as a heart attack.

“There will always be a lowest common denominator out there to vandalise and to ridicule, to record and to Tweet for cruelty’s sake. I only hope that most of us can cultivate a sensitivity to the fact that any of us could drop to the floor and convulse with a seizure, or appear stark raving mad in the street after a stroke, or suffer an episode of psychosis as the sentinel sign of a tumour.”

The most viral video in history, which calls for the arrest of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, has been the focus of some criticism, mainly regarding the non-profit organisation’s finances.



About The Author


Neva is a storyteller and media strategist with a background in PR, film, advertising and digital marketing who is passionate about technology, new media and the endless possibilities of the social and mobile sphere. Read more about her on our 'About Us' page.

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