Ummid Assistant

IDB scholarship forms available at Bhopal's Companion School

IGNOU's preparatory course for students desiring higher education

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Science & Technology

Social media becoming double-edged sword

Tuesday August 21, 2012 07:59:05 PM, IANS

New Delhi: The online hate campaign targeting people from the northeast has put the spotlight on the power of the social media network in India, which counts more than 60 million users, and how this burgeoning community can be manipulated for insidious propaganda.

The unprecedented exodus of people from the northeast, abetted by hate messages, has also opened the debate about issues related to internet freedom and content regulation. India, which is looking into the alleged role of Pakistan-based elements in using morphed images on internet, has blocked over 250 websites for orchestrating the online campaign of hatred.

The last two years have seen an explosion of social media in the country with overwhelmingly young users.

According to a report by iCRossing, nearly 36 million people in the country use Facebook. Of these, nearly 50 percent users are aged below 50. Estimates for 2012 posted on the India pages of various network sites show that microblogging site Twitter and LinkedIn have nearly 15 million users each in India.

This mushrooming is a double-edged sword. Social media has created a vibrant online community and widened public discourse, allowing a platform for activists with a thousand causes. On the flip side, it has also become a vehicle of skewered propaganda, as the latest exodus of people from the northeast from cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad shows.

"The next big war that India may have to wage against terror will be on the internet," said India-born Ankit Fadia, who is based in New York and is a cyber security consultant.

"If any wrong, unacceptable and vicious content originates in Pakistan, it is the responsibility of the citizen of India to check the veracity of the content. If anything goes wrong, those monitoring the content should be held culpable. The government must take action against those who put unacceptable content on social media websites," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nirmala Sitharaman told IANS.

Experts say the vast volume of users makes the task of monitoring difficult.

The wide spectrum of subscribers' database which cuts social and language divides - with Facebook using Hindi as one its languages - has the potential to make the networks national security risk.

Not every user is discerning and the fact that there are no entry barriers makes the sites porous. Anyone can log in.

"The potential of an individual using a social networking site in a secretive manner is much more in a social networking site than in a social media. There is no procedure for registration and ownership. And so there is no way to pin down the culprits," media commentator N. Bhaskar Rao told IANS.

He said the government had initiated a "Convergence Bill in 2000 for the merger of telecom, entertainment and info-tech platforms which could have taken care of the problems".

But it failed to become operative.

The recent developments dredge up fears of a gag on information and expression.

The spectre of curbs on the freedom of expression looms large following Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal's statement about monitoring of content on the internet and social networking sites this year.

In the last two years, networking sites, taking a cue from the Arab Spring which had relied heavily on protests on the social media in the early stages, have mobilised public opinion for several key social issues.

Constructive debates on issues such as environment, wildlife conservation, gender justice, human rights, education - and tirades against cyber pornography and terror, have drawn millions of users to the social networking sites.

In the last decade, the sites have encouraged even trade and businesses to create e-commerce bases.

Social networking sites can't be blamed for inciting violence in northeast, adds Thangkul tribal leader Selicita, who works in the capital.

"Most of those who react to such provocative information join the hate group without knowing the motives. Those involved in the violence against residents of northeast on the ground are not acquainted with such social networking sites," Ngathingpei Khayi, a Manipuri who too works in capital, told IANS.

"The networking sites are a blessing... they are another freedom of expression," said Mohammed Abdul, a student of Delhi University.





 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

Home | Top of the Page

Comments

Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.ummid.com

Comments powered by DISQUS

i

i

 

More Headlines

Sangma challenges Pranab's election in apex court

Scientists challenge Big Bang theory

MNS supporters march despite ban; Mumbai police mute spectator

Udaipur's vintage Rolls-Royce wins US trophy

Dire necessity to enforce airport security in India

Raj Thackeray to go ahead with procession despite police ban

Apple becomes most valuable company in history

He dispels darkness through solar lamps

One percent of the world's people are asexuals

He fought darkness to give reading solutions for blind

Kashmiri separatist leaders placed under house arrest

Helmet-cam Afghan war videos to be shown on BBC

Beijing to ban avoiding 'unlucky' numbers

Posts for SCs, STs lie vacant in central universities

 

Top Stories

MNS supporters march despite ban; Mumbai police mute spectator

Thousands of MNS supporters defied police Tuesday to take to the streets here to denounce what they called as the Aug 11 violence in the city that had left two people »

So what’s new about Mumbai burning?

Raj Thackeray says Bangladeshi infiltrators behind Mumbai violence

 

  Most Read

Eid-ul-Fitr celebrated in India with prayers for peace, feasting

With feasts, warm "Eid Mubarak" greetings, and prayers for peace Muslims across the country celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr Monday,  »

Muslims in India, including Mumbai to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on Monday

Indian Muslims to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr Monday

Exodus: India compiling Pakistan link proof, over 250 websites blocked

Ahead of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's visit to Islamabad, the government Monday decided to step up inter-ministerial consultations to compile evidence on the alleged Pakistan origin of the morphed images of Assam violence and blocked over 250 websites for orchestrating  »

 

  News Pick

Apple becomes most valuable company in history

Apple's market value Monday topped the record set by Microsoft Dec 30, 1999, at the height of the dotcom bubble, as its stock rose to new high of $664.74 per share  »

Posts for SCs, STs lie vacant in central universities

Even as the government is pushing for affirmative action for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the field of education, most of the posts reserved for teachers from these categories are  »

Kashmiri separatist leaders placed under house arrest

Authorities Monday placed all senior Kashmiri separatist leaders under house arrest to maintain law and order during the congregational Eid prayers in Srinagar. "These measures have been taken to ensure that nobody  »

Assam violence not Hindu-Muslim clash: Minister for Northeast

The ethnic violence in Assam which led to an exodus of thousands of northeastern people from other parts of India was not a Hindu-Muslim clash, a central minister from the region has  »

 

Picture of the Day

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh conferring Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) to Azim Premji, the Chairman, Wipro Limited, at the Golden Jubilee Convocation of IIT Bombay, in Mumbai on August 18, 2012.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

RSS  |  Contact us

 

| Quick links

News

 

Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant

 

National

Science & Technology

RSS

Scholarships

About us

International

Health

Twitter

Government Schemes

Feedback

Regional

History

Facebook

Education

Register

Politics

Opinion

Newsletter

Contact us

Business

Career

Education

     

 

 

Ummid.com: Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange

Ummid.com is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.