Social media is an integral part of our lives, but one cannot ignore the drawbacks and the adverse impact it has on us. From cyber bullying to spread of fake/hate messages, the social media has constantly come under the radar of the government and security agencies. Though, privacy and freedom of speech advocates have been apprehensive about regularization by the governments. India does not have much of policies per say on social media regularization at the moment, but soon it may change. However, the government’s plans to monitor conversations and posts on the social media may raise several eyebrows. Also Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!Also Read - What happens to your Facebook account after you die?
A recent report by PTI states, “A meeting was held among representatives of central security agencies and the home ministry to discuss various issues related to it, officials sources said. At present, there is only a set of do s and don ts for the social media which needs to be graduated to full-fledged guidelines that should be adopted on such a network.” As clearly mentioned, the policy will not only give a detailed checklist of what kind of conversations and posts will be permitted and what won’t. However, the timeline for implementation of the same and the platforms are still unclear.
The move comes close on the heels of the government cracking down on multiple terrorist attacks and tracking the conversations back to social media. Not just terrorists but even anti-social elements rely on social media to promote and propagate posts with anti-India sentiments. Social media is also used as a way to create discord and to leverage and boost an already burning issue. Many regions in the country have faced additional attacks and discontent thanks to inflammatory messages spread over social media platforms and continued to be shared unchecked. ALSO READ: WhatsApp emerges as major news media platform: Report
The government officials cited the example of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, as per the report. The tense situation has often been exaggerated and additional issues created thanks to posts inciting further hatred and confusion among the masses. The policies will also see a new division which will be manned by social media tracking and technologically strong individuals to keep track on the conversations. The government will also set up new official accounts to converse with people and to reach out to them, to help them in understanding and distinguishing between actual content and such hate or anti-national posts.
Thre have been questions raised concerning security and individual privacy as such a new policy will compromise individual freedom and the security to interact safely on social media. As the policy details are yet to be highlighted, there are no clues as to the methods employed to keep a check on such conversations or to track such posts.