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Social Media becomes important tool in radicalisation of youths

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New Delhi: Social media was an “important tool” being used by terrorist organisations to radicalise youths across India and abroad, police chiefs of India’s three metropolitan cities warned on Saturday.

Mumbai Commissioner of Police Ahmed Javed shared his views in this matter at the Aaj Tak agenda conclave in New Delhi.

The danger of radicalisation or indoctrination now has a new aspect. The medium to expand it has been changed speedily due to the intervention of social media and electronic medium, he said.

He said that there two kinds of thoughts prevailed in youngsters – those who are fairly impressive and those who are perceived.

A lot of youngsters based on reality but most of them on perception. Four youngsters of our land went to the Middle East recently to join IS (Islamic State).

“We tried to find out (why) and knew that social media is one of the most important tools to radicalise them,” Javed said.

Bengaluru Police Commissioner NS Megharikh also asserted that social media is really working as an alarming tool for the indoctrination of youngsters as they are more in touch with his medium.

Bengaluru is a very technical city. The role of social media in the indoctrination of youths is different from the traditional medium. Local issues are used through social media for the radicalization of people,

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi said that terrorism was not a new danger for India.

The things and medium have been changed. In the past telephonic conversation and letters were used to indoctrinate youths. Now Facebook and WhatsApp are being used as a tool for his purpose,” he said at the conclave. (IANS)

(Picture Courtesy: www.superlobby.com)

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Indian IT Act Silent On Social Media’s Manipulative Role

With a wide array of social media analytics tool available online it is not even difficult to spot the right influencers for their advertising programmes.

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While celebrities with huge following running into millions on social media are known as macro influencers, even some people with small number of followers can earn big sum of money as influencers. They are known as micro influencers. Pixabay

If the Cobrapost investigation which revealed that several Bollywood celebrities were willing to pass views of political parties as personal opinion for money shook your conscience, but there is not much that you could do to restrict them from doing so because the relevant Indian law is silent on this matter.

The investigation revealed that more than 30 Indian film and TV industry actors/artistes agreed to spread the propaganda of political parties through their social media accounts for money.

“Taking money for tweeting on behalf of political parties is definitely unethical, but it is not illegal. The Information Technology Act, 2000 is completely silent on this,” Pavan Duggal, one of the nation’s top cyber law experts, told IANS.

What the investigation unearthed was just the tip of the iceberg. The rise in popularity of social media platforms actually opened up a relatively new advertising economy driven by “influencer marketing”.

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Just as social media companies have come up with transparency rules for political ads, they should have similar features for influencers so that people can distinguish between commercial space and personal space. Pixabay

Marketing firm Mediakix estimated that influencer marketing on Instagram alone could reach $2 billion by the end of this year from $1 billion in 2017.

While Instagram has over a billion monthly active users globally, its parent company Facebook has over 2.3 billion monthly active users and over 16 million people log in to Twitter every day. WhatsApp is another powerful platform which has over 200 million users in India.

The kind of reach that these social media platforms have can offer some idea about how big the influencer marketing business could be. Important here to mention is that it is not just celebrities who are the stars in this game.

While celebrities with huge following running into millions on social media are known as macro influencers, even some people with small number of followers can earn big sum of money as influencers. They are known as micro influencers.

With a wide array of social media analytics tool available online it is not even difficult to spot the right influencers for their advertising programmes.

“In the starting, celebrities were used as influencers for brand endorsement and marketing purposes, however, after social media, now everyone is a celebrity and everything is business including politics,” social media expert Anoop Mishra said.

In countries like the US, it is mandatory to put proper disclosure on paid posts. But only a few follow the rules.

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With the elections coming, political parties are not complaining much. A top WhatsApp executive recently even warned political parties against abusing its platform.
Pixabay

In India, due to lack of user awareness, it is even more difficult distinguish between a paid post and personal opinion.

With the elections coming, political parties are not complaining much. A top WhatsApp executive recently even warned political parties against abusing its platform.

“More than 10,000 official WhatsApp groups have been created by a leading political party to slam its rivals on social media,” Mishra said.

“Political discourse is going to be impacted by social media influencers. There is no two opinion about it,” Duggal said, adding that the consequences of this can be very serious as social media platforms are being used to create a highly-polarised atmosphere in the country.

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Just as social media companies have come up with transparency rules for political ads, they should have similar features for influencers so that people can distinguish between commercial space and personal space.

“Manipulation of social media platform for personal gain must be brought under the ambit of law without putting barriers on free speech,” Duggal added. (IANS)