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A Facebook report on government data requests shows that as much as 73.7% of the 20,000 posts removed by the company on the instructions of 92 countries within the period of the first six months this year came from India. Around 15,155 posts were blocked from Facebook and its sister apps- Whatsapp and Instagram.
Only about 4,960 posts were blocked in the country in the same period last year, but the number has risen to over three times in 2015. Though Facebook claims that government requested content restrictions has risen globally by about 18%, the main reason behind the huge surge in such posts in India would be the growing unrest in the country.
Such is the current social situation in India that the social media reach enables one to indulge in hate politics and communal outrages. Fake posts and false information spreads like wildfire if it can be directed towards the sentiments of certain like-minded people. So, in a way, Facebook blocking posts is somewhat a necessity till people start to learn and behave.
Scientists have even discovered how to mathematically determine the virality-quotient of a Facebook post which describes “how information spreading, higher dimensional groups, social aggregations (a complex network of individuals and socially bonded clusters of people) on Facebook can be mathematically conceptualised to extend classical network analysis to a higher dimensionality.”
Facebook has 130 million monthly users from India, the highest after the US. Greater number of users leads to a greater number of posts; and with that comes more hate mongers and people promoting false information, at times just with the aim of getting viral.
Recently, the Yulin Dog Festival created waves across Facebook, as photos of dogs in cramped cages or being boiled alive went viral. The beef issue, the ensuing Award Wapsi drive, the protests for LGBT rights, and the Digital India campaign all took massive forms due to social media.
While the Dadri case started off with beef-eating rumours projected from loudspeakers in the village, the social media did have a large role to play in the margin it took, ultimately dousing the entire country in political and communal colours.
Facebook blocking posts does need debate and discussion, but with giving careful consideration to the fact that there is another angle than ‘suppression of freedom of speech and expression’.
Everyone had something to say on the issue, and while the main question should have been as to why a man was murdered, people started to ask questions such as “Which religion?”, “Which political party did this?”, “Was it beef or mutton?”, “Did he kill the calf or did he just store the beef?”, “Did he store the beef or did he eat it too?”.
The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots in UP, which ultimately led to the death of 42 Muslims and 20 Hindus and the displacement of 50,000, would not have become this monstrous if the social media posts had been regulated better. BJP MLA Sangeet Som allegedly uploaded a fake video showing a Muslim mob brutally murdering a Hindu youth and delivering provocative speeches. He was arrested for this move, but the damage had been already done.
In mid-2012, thousands of North-eastern migrants to Bangalore left the city due to rumours which said that their community was being targeted with violence by the locals, after the murder of a Manipuri youth Loitham Richard.
In mid-July the same year, columnpk.com, a Pakistani news portal, carried an image from the July 2010 earthquake in Tibet showing Buddhist monks engaged in relief work. However, the caption said: “The body of Muslims slaughtered by Buddhist Barma [Myanmar]”. The image was soon asked to be removed but it had already reached social media where it became viral, ultimately getting published in an Urdu newspaper as proof of violence against Muslims in Myanmar.
Amid the recent communal unrest embroiling in the country, there have been numerous posts which malign one religion or the other. News pieces are given religious slants by the media as well as the Facebook users sharing them which breed unrest through the instant networking of the social media platform.
There are Facebook pages such as I hate Narendra MODI on which, the description reads “Narendra Modi is the #1 TERRORIST of INDIA”, and We Hate Congress which claims to expose the anti-national policies of the party.
Facebook Safety has a post on Controversial, Harmful and Hateful Speech on Facebook, which says, “While there is no universally accepted definition of ‘hate speech’, as a platform we define the term to mean direct and serious attacks on any protected category of people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or disease.”
It further says that Facebook “prohibits content deemed to be directly harmful, but allows content that is offensive or controversial”. Saying this, it clarifies that their “defense of freedom of expression should never be interpreted as license to bully, harass, abuse or threaten violence”.
Questions may be raised as to how much ‘freedom’ of speech and expression does the article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution exactly give us?
Before the Supreme Court did away with Section 66A of the Information Technology Act citing it to be rather “vague” and unconstitutional, and thus removing any chance of arrests on grounds of posting “allegedly objectionable” content on the internet, several arrests were made, some of which were plain unreasonable and raised questions on India’s definition as a democratic country. These arrests came under massive criticism and were seen as a move working against the constitutional right of free speech.
Two women were arrested in November 2012 and held in custody for 10 days, for posting a Facebook status speaking on the Maharashtra shutdown due to Bal Thackeray’s death, even when they hadn’t even mentioned the politician’s name.
Three young boys from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district spent 40 days in jail as they had been tagged in an offensive video. One of them, apparently, had the audacity to even ‘like’ it.
After Jadavpur university chemistry professor Ambikesh Mahapatra was arrested in West Bengal due to circulating a Facebook meme showing Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and then-railway minister Mukul Roy, Facebook was filled with posts which spoke against the arrest and expressed a mocking fear of being arrested themselves.
However, these constitute just a fraction of the reported 15,155 posts which were asked to be blocked by the Indian government. While the government may seem to be ‘intolerant’ or unreasonable, most of the time, the reason behind this measure is to prevent people from spreading hate-inciting content.
“We restricted access in India to content reported primarily by law enforcement agencies and the India Computer Emergency Response Team within the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology because it was anti-religious and hate speech that could cause unrest and disharmony within India,” Facebook wrote in relation to its India content restrictions.
“We scrutinize every government request we receive for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and push back hard when we find deficiencies or are served with overly broad requests,” Facebook’s Deputy General Counsel, Chris Sonderby, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
He added that Facebook was working to “push governments for additional transparency and to reform surveillance practices necessary to rebuild people’s trust in the Internet.”
The Indian government is going to crack down even further on social media hate posts and is planning on asking social media companies to remove hate posts with communal overtones on their own accord.
A senior government official reportedly said in early October, “We will suggest that objectionable contents with hate messages, especially those having communal overtones, which vitiate the society should be removed from the social media platforms.”
Hate posts and any comments enticing violence on communal grounds must be dealt with strictly and measures must be taken for the same. However, proper care needs to be taken that amid such measures, the common people do not lose out on their basic right to the freedom of speech.
In this digital age, where everyone is connected to everyone; in a nation where sensibility and logic is rather wanting; where communal hatred has been conditioned into our very blood; we must take extreme precaution as to the message we send across.
Social media is an umbrella term that encompasses all apps, websites, and blogs that allow people from all over the world to interact through the internet. Anyone who wishes to use any social media platform must first sign up and then sign in to view content and communicate with other members of that social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Snapchat are commonly used social media platforms. Social media, like all technological advancements, has both advantages and disadvantages.
Social media has become an essential aspect of life for many youths in today's society. Numerous young people carry on involving themselves with social media without even bothering to consider its effect on them. The consequences may be both good and bad at times. When it comes to the negative impact of social media on teenagers, the majority of the time, they are unfavourable if the activity is not linked with a commercial or professional objective.
Social media has taken on such significance in today's society that it has overtaken other concerns. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
Social media has taken on such significance in today's society that it has overtaken other concerns. People, especially teens, are addicted to social media and have lost sight of the essential things in their lives like family, friends, physical activities, social interaction, sports, education and much more.
One manner in which social media harms our mental health is through the use of unfavourable social comparisons. Teenagers or even grown-ups who use social media spend a significant amount of time examining the lives and activities of their friends. Continuous comparisons lead to low self-esteem and negative body image in adolescents, increasing depression and anxiety in such people; this includes stalking their achievements, events, their pictures or the events they have attended. On comparing, it makes oneself feel worse about their life.
Teenagers or even grown-ups who use social media spend a significant amount of time examining the lives and activities of their friends. | Photo by Ángel López on Unsplash
We can only see the virtual aspect of a person while we are on social media sites. This means that we can only see the side of the situation that they want us to see. Many people make an effort to present themselves in a way that they are not. Bullying among peers is a common practice, which is acceptable to a certain level. However, when it comes to cyberbullying, it has a significant impact on a person's mental health, as the comments or posts may appear on the newsfeed of any individual and spread quickly. Depression and suicidal behaviour can occur as a result of such things.
Particular teenagers are highly prone to be manipulated. Such teenagers may feel the urge to alter their physical appearance as they begin to compare themselves with every other person they come across on social media. This can result in low-self esteem; also, there is a tremendous temptation to overindulge on social media. Hence, it can become an addiction for adolescents and cause them to get distracted, as already mentioned.
Several studies have found that excessive social media use is frequently associated with underlying problems such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem. | Photo by AH NP on Unsplash
Several studies have found that excessive social media use is frequently associated with underlying problems such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem. Hence, it becomes a social responsibility for us to keep a check on our and our friends' mental well-being by unplugging our devices, building solid friendships and beginning the search to find our true inner self by meditation, exploring nature and organizing offline get together.
Keywords: negative, unfavourable, friends, depression, teenagers, people, social, mental health
During festivals like Diwali, one shouldn't only pay pay attention to dressing up, shopping and meeting family members; an integral part of festivities includes cleaning and decorating our homes, neighbourhood and spreading joy. But while anybody can clean their homes, designing new spaces can be a tad bit cumbersome. With a restricted budget and high-priced decor products in the market, everyone is always looking out for new ideas that are both cost-effective and can transform your home to welcome Maa Laxmi and the New Year. Don't worry though, the following five budget-friendly ways shared by Niraj Johri, founder & CEO at Casa Decor, help you decorate your home in a manner that makes it unforgettable.
Adding metal accents
Adding brass, silver, or copper accessories in the tiny little spaces inside your home can elevate its overall design aesthetics. Metals are the epitome of elegance and luxury -- they can be moulded to lend an eccentric and dynamic fusion of colours. Due to their unpredictable nature, artisans can find numerous ways in which they can help accentuate every corner in your home.
Folded into intricate forms with beautiful solid colours, metals are an undeniably fascinating material to use in home decor. In fact, they are known for their polished and refined looks that bring together edgy, contemporary, and Victorian styles to the forefront. Such designs can usually be found in handcrafted decor pieces such as metal trays that are perfect centrepieces on wooden tables.
Adding brass, silver, or copper accessories in the tiny little spaces inside your home can elevate its overall design aesthetics. | Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Flowers, flowers everywhere!
This Diwali one should endeavor to shift to organic decor pieces that make use of fresh flowers elevate spaces like doorways, balconies, stairs, or even put them in vases and let the flowers be the centre of attention. Houseplants and flowers not only brighten your surroundings but also boost your mood immediately. Since Diwali calls for parties at home, flowers can function as a catalyst for good vibes.
You can also make use of metal planters enchanted by unexpected colors and veins. Through their unique characteristics and diverse sets of textures, metal planters enable the preservation of charm and value unique to Indian handicraft traditions and cultures.
Since Diwali calls for parties at home, flowers can function as a catalyst for good vibes. | Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash
Light lights! Tea lights
Tea lights are perhaps best used when they are placed inside intricately handcrafted ceramic casings that combine various traditional techniques practised through time. Each piece exudes a sense of muted culture that find a new life in the nuances of the design work.
Each piece exudes a sense of muted culture that find a new life in the nuances of the design work. | Photo by Sven Hornburg on Unsplash
How about some lanterns?
Lanterns with fairy lights is a very popular idea that can be found in most households today. All you must do is fill the jar with fairy lights and hang them in any corner of a room. They offer an inspiring firefly effect that lends a unique and inimitable look to spaces within homes.
Lanterns offer an inspiring firefly effect that lends a unique and inimitable look to spaces within homes. | Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash
Mirror Mirror on the wall
Wall mirrors are another way of adding an aesthetic and elegant touch to homes. One can add different sizes of mirrors on empty walls and change the look of the entire area. A classic mirror will add richness to your home and function as a reflective piece to shed light in each corner. (IANS/ MBI)
Wall mirrors are another way of adding an aesthetic and elegant touch to homes. | Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland on Unsplash
Following a huge growth in his personal fortune, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has renewed his promise to "extend life to Mars". According to The Star, Musk's wealth has swelled to an astonishing $230 billion. Or a whopping 861 billion Dodgecoin, a cryptocurrency backed by the entrepreneur after he was reported to have invested millions.
Musk is now richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined, both individuals who had previously held the rich list title. "Elon Musk (with a net worth equal to 861 billion #Dogecoin) is now richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett COMBINED!" popular crypto YouTuber Matt Wallace's tweeted.
To which Musk said: "Hopefully enough to extend life to Mars". "Have no doubt you will make it happen," Wallace responded. CEO investments, the creators of Dogecoin, also responded backing Musk's plans every step of the way. The SpaceX Mars programme was initiated by Musk to colonize Mars after he first conceptualized the project back in 2001. SpaceX's aspirational goal has been to land the first humans on Mars by 2024, but in October 2020 Musk named 2024 as the goal for an uncrewed mission. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: investments, combined, SpaceX, billion, Elon musk, tesla