All India Radio (AIR) : Various Aspects of Social Media

  • IASbaba
  • April 6, 2018
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All India Radio
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Various aspects of Social media


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  • General Studies 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • General Studies 3: Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, Basics of cyber security

In News: Cambridge Analytica is said to have accessed Facebook users’ data without permission and, is claimed to have helped manipulate election results. SCL had access of user data through a Facebook app called “thisisyourdigitallife” and the app was downloaded by 270,000 people. The firm got the data from a researcher who paid 270,000 Facebook users to complete a psychological profile quiz back in 2014. But the quiz gathered information on their friends as well, bringing the total number of people affected to about 50 million.

As the news of the breach spread, a hashtag emerged, #deletefacebook, which ironically trended on the social media site. This is not the first instance of a data breach on Facebook— but it surely is one of the biggest so far.

Data Analytics in the times of Social Media:

Governments over the world has increasingly started using the social media to establish a voice and presence on the platform and invite citizen engagement, embed information in new media channels that citizens frequent daily, leverage crowds to pull information on security/law and order issues, for coordinating community policing efforts and to put a human face on policing.

Nowadays, businesses are collecting small pieces of data leading to a profile creation to influence his/her mode of thinking by ‘using data analytics’. This is helpful in influencing a person to show his/her interest in the advertisements by the businesses.  

The Way Ahead:

Responsibility of an individual: The problems plaguing social network security and privacy issues, can only be resolved if users take a more careful approach to what they share and how much.

  • With the growth of social networks, it’s becoming harder to effectively monitor and protect site users and their activity because the tasks of security programmers become increasingly spread out.
  • Crimes of house burglary and child kidnapping have been taking place as users themselves inform the world that they are vulnerable to the same by posting photos of their vacation or the whereabouts of the children as frequent updates.

Responsibility of the social media channel: Private data needs to be private and no information should be shared without prior information/ consent with any third party.

Responsibility of the State: Vigilance and training are crucial to minimizing risks for individuals and business, and therefore the State needs to incorporate this into legislation.

  • A national law on cyber security is the need of the hour, and absence of which has resulted in a fertile ground for for the misuse and unauthorised access of users’ data by the service providers.
  • India should not allow its data to be stored outside its boundaries. Service providers must (be made to pay) high penalty if they are found to be misusing the data of Indians irrespective of if they are physically located in the country or not
  • India should also not cut-paste any other country’s law as India’s social realities are entirely different. The country has to deal with the huge issue of Aadhaar which is reeling under variety of cyber-attacks because we have failed to apply cyber security as an integral part of the Aadhaar architecture.
  • Political parties should refrain from using the same data to manipulate the public opinion.

Connecting the Dots:

  1. Discuss the ways in which Social Media should be regulated to thwart the security challenges posed by its burgeoning growth in India.  
  2. With social media becoming more and more socially and politically relevant, should there be a strong regulatory mechanism for it? Discuss

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