Concept behind the design of social media is somehow related to the formation of an identity and understanding of self through the interactions with other known or unknown individuals. In a very short lapse of time, it has experienced widespread popularity within our society. A medium that was known for its unique identity-space, for space less, is slowly but sharply losing its flavor. Here, someone’s freedom has suddenly become a threat for someone else. But the bigger part is- the threat is pointed towards an individual, targeted by a group or gathering with certain cemented mindset. There are never ending list of incidents that tried to hammer the freedom which an individual enjoys on social media sites. I am not going to serialize all but the most recent one.
Yes, it’s Yakub’s hanging. That day, the way populace got divide on the social platforms reflects that we are living in a democratic setup, where each has the right to put their opinion in public domain. But the way few extremist reacted over the individual’s free voice/opinion; it had almost murdered the freedom of speech and expression, assigned to each one by the Constitution of India. Social activist cum advocates Prashant Bhushan’s steps of approaching the highest court in the last minute for Yakub got many “patriotic” sentiments hurt. “People with true nationalistic approach” used all kinds of trolls to abuse Bhushan on each social-sites platform. False messages, edited photos with dirty slogans and horrible cartoon images were spread with a message on bottom, like, “if you are a true Indian, forward this or only Pakistan supporters will not share this or a true Hindu will not ignore this”. Patriotism had gone on sale. People were just a click away from either being a true patriotic or a traitor.
I am not interested in knowing who generated or formed these texts or images. But what bothered me is how even a well educated person, in tandem with 24*7 information and technology tools, got influenced by such destructive content. People used their internet connection to forward those man-made false-facts, instead of verifying it first. Before spreading such lies, one should have thought that if he is trying to do something anti-national, why would the highest court of India said “yes” to his appeal at the mid-night? Who know our constitution in best- is it the highest court of the land or the ‘creator of such messages’?
When it came to Salman
In a similar scenario, what happened to Salman’s tweets? Continuous religion-centric Dirty abuse forced Mr. Khan to DELETE his tweet. Flash mob decide the direction Mr. Khan’s virtual opinion should go. They snatched the virtual space of Mr. Khan. IT IS HORRIFYING how those UNCONTROLLED virtual mass acquired the VIRTUAL space AND TROLLED Salman.
Like previous incidents, a message circulating on Social Media sites stated “Eminent persons request President of India to consider Yakub Memon mercy plea.” This news was correct, but again the catalog which was distributed on different medium FLASHED many names which had no connection with it (like Ravish Kumar- Journalist @ NDTV). The list was well accessible and available on different news websites with full text, but only a few bothered to cross check the specifics and rest joined the “League of distribution”.
Some scholar defined the happenings as a hate inclined towards one particular religion. But if one arranges the sliding tiles puzzle in a sequence, it will reflect a particular kind of image painted with a selective color. Both Prashant Bhushan and Ravish Kumar belong to Hinduism and Salman Khan is Muslim, but they targeted all three. So, there were no religion based selections.
The majority of them who were involved in the message circulation system were loaded with an agenda and rest were following them like an Unguided-Mob or Mentally-Backward individuals. Most of them have no actual profile pictures, many accounts were looking nearly dead with only a small number of selective posts on few selective dates. It seemed like, many profiles belong to some invisible or SOME BARBARIC INDIVIDUALS.
Time has come when we have to take steps to secure our virtual freedom. We got this medium as a blessing for expressing our voice and we have to guard this. Social media sites’ owners and their strategist must think about the safety, security and some verification methods of both the content and the individuals. For example like linking individuals profile with their mobile number, Aadhar Card, OPT secure login system, only one profile allotted to one individual, fortnightly or monthly verification of profiles …etc. I know it seems very tough, but it’s not impossible. It may sound funny today, but very shortly we all will be in a queue for this demand. It’s not the matter of numbers of profile or fake profile but our freedom of speech and expression. We all have the right of free speech, but one doesn’t require a fake identity (either real or virtual) to use it.
A never-ending list can be drawn where few disturbing element used this platform to spread anti-national messages and tried very hard to break unity and bonds which people of this country share with each others. Fake rumors against The North-East people, Mehdi Masroor’s arrest for operating ISIS Twitter account, are only a few but shocking cases regarding media miss-conduct.
In real life, fake identity is dangerous for Nation but it is hazardous in the virtual world especially in a democratic setup. Save this medium to speak truth freely otherwise very soon people will stop believing in “What’s in your mind or tweet”. Spread the Truth and Report Abuse or misleading information.