Social Media Concerns

  • IASbaba
  • June 5, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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  • GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. 
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Social Media Concerns

Context: Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have long contributed to the democratisation of voices across the world. 

Unfortunately, the parallel forces of capitalism and information colonisation have wrought national security and the rule of law in democracies. 

Concerns of Social Media

  • Speed prioritised over depth: On a fundamental level, social media has eroded mainstream media and fostered a culture of speedy and commercialised news at the cost of nuanced & in-depth coverage. 
  • Different from Traditional Media: The centrality of the business model of social media revolves around one concept: social media companies are the platforms and not the creators of content or information.
  • Invest on Human Psychology: Social media companies invest billions of dollars in R&D in understanding human psychology so as to develop algorithms that feed them the content they prefer.
  • Creation of Echo Chambers: The social media platforms generate revenue from users’ clicks by showing them content they wish to see and believe. Social media minimises exposure to opposing views as that would not generate their revenue.
  • Half-baked Opinions: Social media influencers for increasing likes and followers can comment on law and order and national security matters without responsibility
  • Unable to balance competing interests: Social media companies have been unable to balance the national security concerns with the capitalist motivations of profit.
  • Liable to mislead & misuse: As social media competes for the attention of the masses, it becomes a tool of information warfare and propaganda While social media gives voice to the voiceless, it is also used to polarise society.
  • National Security Threats: The attention-driven social media model may also make a country vulnerable to separatist groups who can mobilise large crowds by spreading false information at lightning speed.
  • Used for attack on India’s image & morale: The external adversaries like China and Pakistan have pushed anti-Indian narratives on social media and tried to undermine Indian soldiers’ morale during the recent border conflict with China. Social media platforms have been used by Pakistan to accuse India of human rights violations in Kashmir falsely

Way Ahead

  • As social media companies and AI become increasingly advanced and powerful, it is pertinent to introduce regulations and taxations on social media. 
  • As a short term measure, the lawmakers should focus on how IT laws can minimise threats to national security, including theft of data and society’s polarisation. 
  • To reduce the risk of radicalisation, the IT community should advocate for contracts between employers and employees on YouTube and Instagram so different interest groups do not use them. 
  • Additionally, there is a heightened need for digital literacy, especially amongst the growing youth population.

Connecting the dots:

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