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Guard against misuse, social media platforms told

Topics Covered:

  1. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Guard against misuse, social media platforms told


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Misuse of social media platforms, concerns over misuse and need for comprehensive guidelines.


Context: The Parliamentary Panel on Information and Technology has directed the social media platforms — Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram — to ensure that their platforms are not used to incite violence or to meddle in the Lok Sabha election.


Why there is need for regulation?

With over 460 million internet users, India is the second-largest online market, ranked only behind China. By 2021, there will be 635.8 million internet users in India. The widespread use of social networking in the country has been on a rise, especially among the new generation.

We cannot ignore the fact that politics and media share a complex synergistic relationship; media, politics and elections are knotted together and social media platforms have become the essential ground for discussion on political narratives.

Politics is a favourite topic of discussion among the young and old. The hashtags are famous on Twitter and Twitter users get pulled into it. These platforms may be misused by hatemongers or fake news peddlers. There can also be foreign interference in our election using social medias. Then, there is the issue of cloned and fake accounts.

Globally, some election experts have raised alarm against the recent elections in some countries where social media campaigns influenced election proceedings to such an extent that the democratic process came under threat. There is an alarming worry that outside interests can work to undermine the democratic process in a subtle and sneaky way. In April 2017, Facebook admitted that its platform had been exploited by governments seeking to manipulate public opinion in other countries during the presidential elections in the US and France. Facebook pledged to clamp down on such operations.


Recent developments at global level:

Courtiers such as Singapore and the Philippines are actively proposing legislation on fake news, while Germany introduced a new law that compels social media networks to remove hate speech. Indonesia has launched a new cybersecurity agency as part of its efforts to deal with online religious fanaticism, online hate speech, nip terrorist groups and fake news on social media.


Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: Social media has emerged as a major threat to nation’s internal security. Discuss.