The world has not been the same ever since the advent of social media. In today’s times, nothing commands more power than the internet fuelled social media in terms of its reach, influence and impression on masses across the globe. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and its related ilk have taken everyone by storm and the netizens are addicted to the daily dose of internet. Just open YouTube or facebook on your cell-phone and you will be bombarded with all sorts of news, entertainment and gossips happening in your neighborhood streets, local markets, cities, and everywhere, even the remotest corners of planet Earth.
Social media has overtaken the conventional modes of mass-media like newspapers, television sets and radio channels also. Theoretically, everything looks good about social media and its capability to reach its audience within fraction of a second but if you look minutely and analyze it microscopically, then you will realize that social media also possesses the capacity to destroy the world and finish off its foundations. In fact, it would not be wrong to rate social media as a bigger potential threat than even the nuclear weapons. This is because it has the inherent speed and visual optics to appeal to the masses and thus, initiate chain reactions amongst people regardless of the geographical boundaries.
The recent dastardly lone wolf terror attack by a white supremacist in the two Christchurch mosques at New Zealand has also made it very clear that the social media can be easily used to radicalize the minds of the youth as well as spread the seeds of hatred, intolerance and revengeful attacks in a sinister way. The tragic fact that the killer used camera on his helmet to live-stream the video of his heinous act shows the extent of damage that can be unleashed on impressionable minds across the world. Such live-streaming of terror videos is enough to incite the communal and religious passions among various communities and also has the capacity to further radicalize people and alienate them from the society. The kind of terror that video must have created in the hearts of the viewers cannot be expressed in words. Therefore, it was only through the power of social media that the perpetrator managed to push his extremist killer agenda into the mainstream of societies across the length and breadth of globe. Earlier also, the social media has been misused by the terror outfits like ISIS to send brutal chilling messages to people in terms of live-beheading or shooting down of their captive ‘prisoners’ in Iraq. The ‘fidaayen’ terrorist who stormed his SUV into the CRPF convoy at Pulwama, India had also used social media to air his pre-recorded video which had went viral immediately after the gruesome terror attack that killed more than 40 soldiers. Even the slain terrorist Burhan Wani was also a product of social media only. In India, the social media in particular has also been mischievously used to
stoke communal passions and create communal disharmony through fanning the acts of mob-lynching, cow-vigilantism and war-mongering.
In view of all these instances, it is thus very important to nail the ill-effects of social media and control it appropriately before the situation gets out of hand. The companies like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram etc which makes billions of dollars from its platform have a legal, moral and social responsibility to put in adequate monitoring mechanisms in order to actively regulate and supervise the digital content which is uploaded on their sites. At present, the profiteering
motive of these corporate houses has overshadowed their collective responsibility to serve and protect their users from malicious content.
The terror outfits are openly luring the youth through these sites and through the medium of dark-web to indulge in illegal activities like making crude bombs, drug smuggling, arms rackets, etc. It is not that the social media platforms are completely shirking their responsibility, but more needs to be done at the ground level. The WhatsApp has recently come out with an important feature wherein we can forward a message to only 5 contacts at one time. This is praiseworthy initiative to stop the spread of fake news and malicious propaganda in society but it is also important to devise strategies to locate the creator and original sender of such fake news. The social media is being used as a force multiplier these days to create divisions in the world which is an alarming concern to say the least. There have also been allegations of social media being misused to exploit the outcome of elections in various countries and thus, the terror of social media needs to be tackled immediately before it becomes a threat to the democracies worldwide.
Innumerable fake profiles and dubious multiple identities of people exist on facebook, instagram etc which are used to spread malicious content on the internet. Through fake ID’s, people on social media go on a verbal rampage in terms of assaulting, threatening and using abusive language to create mental trauma for other people, especially celebrities who are often body-shamed etc. The least these social media companies can do is to verify the online identities of those
people who are their active users and delete the doubtful ID’s from their platforms which are not matched through proper channels. In fact, proofs of identity like Aadhar card, driving licence, PAN card, Passport etc must be made compulsory for any person to create their account on these social media websites. This step in itself will go a long way in eradicating the misuse of internet for dubious purposes. It is not only the terror of guns and bombs that social media needs to take care of, but also the terror of destroying people’s reputations is something which needs urgent attention.
Social media has become a monster of sorts and if it is not tackled right now, it will be too late to put the genie back into the bottle. A lot of damage has already been done. Let us try to fix the problem without any further procrastination. The war against terrorism cannot be won merely through Ak-47’s, F-16’s or MIG 21’s unless we recognize the reality that terrorism has entered our living rooms through the internet-powered, smart-phone enabled social media sites. Cyber
terrorism is a collective threat to humanity and it is time to log off from the virtual world of social media and shake our senses to take control of our lives before we end up destroying ourselves. Needless to say, the social media has become unsocial. Is there still anyone left who has not signed out yet? Well, you can log in at your own risk.
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