The fundamental freedoms of speech and expression are an important aspect of democracy. Nobody has imagined that social media has given to the citizens the use of this right, a decade ago. Actually, this platform can bring a change in society. But, it is a matter of concern that at the present time social media remains in the discussion for its criticisms. Indeed, the role of social media has become a promoter of thinking.
- The incidents of killing people by spreading rumors through social media have become commonplace. In recent days, more than thirty murders have been carried out by the crowd across the country. Most of these killings are due to the spread of rumors of the kidnapper on social media.g of distorting social equality and sharing society with positive thinking.
- In Karnataka, the case of the murder of an engineer in the name of theft of child was revealed. Two youths who went to roam in Assam were kidnapped as a thief. A woman was killed as a thief in Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh.
- In addition, such incidents were also carried out in states like Assam, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu.
So, the question arises that why is the social media which is considered to be an important platform for sharing information and innovation, why is it being the reason of death of people today? The social media which laid the foundation of the Arab Revolution to restore democratic rights in Tunisia, why has social media today become a matter of concern for India? Social media can play a positive and constructive role at a time when reports of religious goodwill deteriorate in many parts of the country. But, it is a matter of concern that it can not be done. Let’s examine these aspects.
In what ways is the misuse of social media
In fact, social media is being misused in many ways. Not only is it being spreading social and religious frenzy, but, for the political selfishness, misinformation is being offered from home to home. It has been promoting violence in society and, in the same way, our thinking is also being tried to control.
- Answering a question in the last Lok Sabha session, Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said that in 2017-18 there were complaints about meeting 2,245 objectionable material on many sites including Facebook, Twitter, of which 1,662 items had been removed till June 2018. Facebook removed the most 956 offensive material. Most of these were content that violated religious sentiments and laws prohibiting the insult of national symbols.
- The discovery of a large number of objectionable content in such a short period indicates the major misuse of social media.
- According to an estimate, every 40 minutes a Facebook related post is reported to be removed. Actually, most people share any post without hesitation. Indeed, there are many social groups on Whatsapp and Facebook. Often these groups are inspired by any ideology or made for a specific purpose. If it is said that most of the groups are inspired by political ideology, then it will not be wrong. Fake news is created and shared with no obstacles here. Obviously these news may be prepared with any particular sentiment or motive. Again, it would be wrong to say that social media stands up as a challenge in front of social harmony.
- On the other hand, through the social media, historical facts are also being tampered with. Not only is trying to present the historical events in a different way, but also the misinformation about the leaders of the freedom fighter is being shared at a bigger level.
- It is an aspect of spreading many misconceptions about the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and the first Prime Minister, Pandit Nehru. It is possible that this is being done to get a political advantage.
- The World Economic Forum has also stated in its Risk Report that the spread of false information through social media is one of the emerging risks. But, the question is, how appropriate is it for a progressive society and the country to create and share the wrong information that day? Of course, this is not only a hindrance in our path of progress, but also marks the question mark on our progressive claims. In such a situation it becomes necessary that our governments interfere with it and try hard to control it.
Has our governments taken any initiative to curb this?
Indeed, despite all the government’s efforts, it is not possible to control unethical use through social media. For this, the Indian government has also made cyber security policy and information technology law. However, due to the difficulty of implementing this law, it is unable to prevent rumors on social media.
- Recently, the Central Government has drafted Amendment in Section 79 of Information Technology Act. Under this, companies like Facebook and Google will no longer be able to run their responsibilities. There is also preparation for issuing new guidelines. Under this, IT companies will be accountable to the complaints of Fake News, not only to the courts and government institutions but also to the general public.
- Clearly, this amendment is being done with the intention of deciding the responsibilities of IT companies so that these companies are also cautious. In addition, the Home Ministry has instructed the State Police Forces and Intelligence Bureau to make social units to take action on this.
What are the provisions in other countries to stop rumors on social media?
Significantly, the issue of Fake News on social media is not limited to India, but other countries of the world are also upset with this problem. From Asia to the western country, this problem has been going on.
- In Malaysia, there is a provision of six year sentence for the person convicted, while there is a provision of seven years in Thailand.
- In the neighboring country of Pakistan, the person who harms someone’s feelings through wrong information, has the provision for both punishment and fines.
- Apart from this, strict laws have been made in Singapore, China, Philippines etc. to ban wrong reports.
Positive effort of social media in India
However, it is true that India is struggling with the spread of hatred spreading through social media. But it is also true that many positive initiatives have been executed through social media in India too.
- Through the medium of social media, the Anna movement was strengthened in 2011 and this movement was a very successful one.
- The use of such a successful movement after the Nirbhaya scandal in Delhi and the mobilization of students on the Rohit Vemulah episode was extremely successful.
But in the current time, social media has started discussing more with the intention of misuse. On the one hand, our government is trying to change the picture of the country by bringing programs such as Digital India, on the other hand, we are working to challenge the government and the country by misusing an important part of the program. If we continue to maintain the example of stupidity without regard to life and property, then we have to understand that we are taking society and the country to the mouth of the fall.
The issue of misuse of social media is such that it can no longer be ignored. Sharing the wrong ideas enters the country’s internal security in jeopardy. In such a case, there is a dire need for stringent laws against it.
- As the country continues to grow on the path of modernization, the challenges are also increasing. Therefore, India needs a tough law like Germany that is designed to tighten the scandal on those who use objectionable material on social media.
- Although India has stepped up its move on this side, it will be interesting to see how effective it can be.
- There is also a provision in Germany that companies will have to disclose publicly every six months to find out how many complaints they received and how they were taken. In addition, they must also identify the user’s identity, which has been accused of violating people’s defamation or confidentiality. The experts believe that this law is the most stringent law in the democratic countries so far.
- Apart from this, it is also possible to continue to analyze social media activities through ‘Social Media Intelligence’ and to take proper action on the complaint. This will remove objectionable material without delay. This problem can be curbed by organizing awareness programs and seminars jointly organized by government and non-governmental organizations.
- We have to understand that through the help of trails in the rural areas, the children go through the rivers to read the literacy rate, the working class in the different corners of the country has worked hard to increase the country’s GDP. But we tend to overwhelm the hard work of those children and laborers due to the narrow mentality. Sitting in houses equipped with facilities, we are sowing seeds of hatred in the country. We are making a challenge for the country by ending mutual brotherhood.
- Last year, in the study of Indian Tourism and Travel Management Institute Gwalior, it was told that 89% of the tourists coming to India receive information about India through social media. Even 18 per cent of them make plans to come to India when the content received from social media present a good picture of India in their jaws.
- In such a situation, if India’s negative image emerges through social media, then with economic losses, India’s reputation will also be looked at at stake. Therefore, it is important that we prioritize countrymen and use social media in a better way, present a better picture of India in front of the world so that we can provide a disciplined and clean environment to the next generation.