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Another Side Of Media!

A survey seemingly showcased the dark side of the Social Media, like Facebook and Twitter, in 2019. Nearly 61% of people, who were surveyed, were of the opinion that the Social Media were the source of inconsistent attacks on people, while 55% said that they get to spread fake news, and 56% claimed that the Social Media divided the society. Meanwhile, a recent survey has revealed that one out of every eight images, spread on political groups in WhatsApp before the 2019 Parliamentary Polls in India, were old or out-dated images, which were intentionally shared to brew hatred! The medium, with which the word ‘society‘ or ‘social‘ stays associated, has become an un-social, even anti-social instrument of some corrupt politicians in India, and in some other countries, too!

How it has happened? When thinking of the germination, there is space for little doubt that the Social Media have turned out to be extremely powerful in today’s world. People, irrespective of their educational qualifications, culture and socio-economic status, would consider the Social Media as the primary and main source of authentic information. Hence, they easily believe in the veracity of the information received through WhatsApp, and forward those messages to their near and dear ones. When a person finds a news item on Facebook, s/he thinks that it is mostly true, as it is shared by one of her/his friends. This seemingly omnipotent credibility of the Social Media encourages Politicians with vested interests, and other corrupt people, in using them as instruments to serve their own purposes. However, the weakness of the Netizens is not the only reason here… the structural defects of the Social Media are equally responsible!

In an audit report, Facebook has admitted that there are some flaws in its procedures that could be used to infringe on a citizen’s Right to Privacy or other rights. Whenever a person informs the Facebook authorities about an offensive video or unethical post, often, the automated response by the Organisation would advise the person to ‘unfriend’ or ‘block’ the person who posted the content… as if, it is the only thing to do! This tendency to ignore the problems faced by users of the Social Media is unfortunate.

Now, who will take the responsibility? Talking about undertaking the responsibilities to set this right, the Netizens, perhaps, would have to be alert all the time, so that the fake news does not influence them. Or else, they, unknowingly, might become victims of the Social Media structure. At the same time, the Social Media Organisations would have to change their respective structures. As it is quite a complex errand, the Government would have to come forward and take the responsibility. Laws, related to the use of the Internet, Information Technology and the Social Media, vary from country to country. And, the Social Media Organisations often violate the Law due to their complex procedures. This particular issue should be addressed in a proper manner. Such a step will not only allow Netizens to use the Social Media without any tension, but also put the Social Media under control.

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