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Social Media in India: Understanding The Dynamics of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’

Social media, a double-edged sword, is an evolving forum of communication in the internet media

Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook employees 'secret police' to catch information leakers. Pixabay

Social media is a strange place that connects millions of people worldwide. It is a platform that keeps people engaged in several trending issues. However, the point of concern being, how do they react? This makes social media a double-edged sword.

Let’s take an example. Once, a photo of a young schoolboy from a poor family went viral. The boy was sitting outside a Noida metro station, trying to earn money through a weighing scale and studying at the same time. He caught the attention of one of the commuters. A picture was taken and uploaded on Facebook. The picture went viral. Now, there were several people who came forward to help. One of them was the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav, who promised to ensure full opportunity for them to study without having to work.

ALSO READ: Social Media: Here is how it is creating Lifestyle pressure on Youth!

social media
Twitter, the microblogging site has 23.2 million Monthly Active Users in India, which is 2nd largest in Asia-Pacific after Japan with 26 million MUAs. Pixabay

This was one example or the so-called ‘positive side’ of social media. Now let’s turn the page and look at the other side of the road. Here the ‘other-type’ instances on social media:

  • In 2012, morphed pictures and videos of earthquake victims went viral. The morphed images were aimed to show that these were Muslim victims of civil riots in Assam and Burma. This was done to provoke riots by vested interests.
  • There were instances of hate and revenge messages being spread against Hindu migrants living in South India. This resulted in a mass exodus of people from the North East.
  • At an individual level, there are many examples where when a relationship went sour, one of the partners uploaded intimate pictures, videos or information, in revenge against their former partner.
  • Another point of concern is the easy access to all types of porn by minors. This is resulting in rapidly changing social behaviour and redefining morality.

The major problem being stated is that the society as a larger whole is unable to keep pace and social media is, hence, increasing the gap between older and younger generations rather than bringing them closer.

social media
There are over 30 Million LinkedIn Users in India, while 467 million users globally. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Teenagers using Social Media more likely to suffer sleep deprivations: Study

Should there be government intervention in the use of social media?

India is witnessing increasing internet and mobile penetration. With first-time users onto these platforms, the risk of mass hysteria or communal reactions increases. It is imperative for the government to get together all stakeholders of civil society and try and address the issue of balancing media freedom with media regulation.

Putting regulations or any type of curbs on the internet will be a sensitive subject in any type of free society and of course, it will result in certain opposition. However, what we need to understand is, each society is different. Therefore, every society has to develop its own mechanism to address the negative consequences of social media.

social media
There are 16 Million Instagram users in India. Pixabay

For example, the Indian government had blocked internet services in the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the period of eid in 2015. It was a preventive measure. However, despite the ban, there were clashes with the police and violence. The point of concern being, the situation could have been much worse had the internet and social media been accessible.

With the world getting increasingly connected through the web and India on the cusp of a ‘Digital’ revolution, the government must take up establishing clear cybersecurity laws and cyber management policies on an urgent basis. Social media could work as a development catalyst or could become a national threat.

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Apple’s ‘Families’ to help curb kids’ screen addiction

Not only Apple, Facebook, which has over two billion users, is also making drastic changes to its News Feed that will allow users to see more updates from family and friends

Apple logo. Pixabay
  • Apple has introduced new ‘Families’ page to this website
  • The aim is to curb children’s addiction to screens
  • The app will benefit the community

To help parents control their children’s screen addiction touted as a “growing public health crisis”, Apple has introduced a new page called “Families” on its website.

The page has features like “Ask To Buy” tool that lets parents approve or decline app purchases from their device. “Find My Friends” feature lets parents keep track of their kids’ locations, get alerts when they leave or arrive somewhere, and see distances and travel times to where they are.

Apple got lukewarm response for iPhone X. Pixabay
Parents can even track the activities of their children. Pixabay

Another app management feature lets users automatically block in-app purchases. It has the option to limit adult content on kids’ devices and restricts browsing to only pre-approved websites.

“We’ve also made it easy for parents to set privacy controls on their kids’ devices. We’re continually designing new features to help make sure kids use them in the ways you want,” Apple said on the new page.

Two key Apple shareholders had requested the Cupertino-based iPhone maker to take urgent steps to safeguard young users from the ill-effects of iPhone addiction.

Also Read: Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

In a letter, Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System told Apple to make its products safer for the younger users.

Not only Apple, Facebook, which has over two billion users, is also making drastic changes to its News Feed that will allow users to see more updates from family and friends than posts from businesses, brands, and media.

Facebook is also concentrating more towards friends and family of its users. VOA

According to its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has got a feedback from the community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. IANS