Of late, various social networking sites like Facebook, You Tube and Twitter etc. are under the Indian Government’s scanner because lot of objectionable contents were uploaded on these sites from inside and outside India to spread communal hatred after violence in North Eastern state of Assam. The government has threatened to take legal action against social networking sites like Twitter who have refused to cooperate in the crackdown on web pages carrying inflammatory messages against Indians from the Northeast. Facebook and YouTube have already confirmed the government’s suspicion that inflammatory messages were uploaded from Pakistan.
These highly objectionable contents created panic among North Eastern citizens throughout the country and they rushed back to their homes fearing backlash from Muslims. Being citizens of this country, all of them have democratic rights to pursue their studies/professions anywhere in the country. That the use of social media can create havoc is amply demonstrated in the recent events which forced even our inactive PM to make statement in the house of parliament and all the political parties jointly appealed to all the citizens to maintain restraint and communal harmony in the country.
If social media can be used for destructive activities then it has lot of advantages also. As reported by PTI, a Gulf-wide Twitter alert enabled police to locate a month-old baby girl stolen by a robber along with the car in which she was napping outside a shop in the UAE. The baby was sleeping in a car when it was stolen, not far from the commercial hub of Dubai late on Saturday, after her parents left the car engine running as they nipped into a shop. Within seconds the car and the baby had gone.
Police put out a Twitter alert for the missing baby and within minutes they were flooded with more than 1,700 retweets. At last a resident of Sharjah tweeted that he had spotted the stolen car. The car was found a few kilometres away from where it had been stolen and thankfully the baby was inside safe and sound.
The above two incidents demonstrate that social media was concieved keeping in mind its relevance in today’s fast paced life-style. Only caution required is that it should be used judiciously and not to harm anybody or hurt anybody’s sentiments. For this the companies hosting these websites should take all possible precautions that their sites are not used for any hatred or causing law and order problems in any country especially multi-cultural sensitive countries like India. These companies should take a lesson from the recent violence in the country and plug loopholes in their systems.