Biju Gayu

Writer, teacher and academic blogger. Writes a social media trilogy. Forthcoming books: Myth of the Social Media Politics (Primus Books), Intimate Speakers (Fingerprint).Specializes on celebrity culture, political class, culture studies, business politics and technology.

Why Social media must be regulated?

The comment and reply thread of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages of mainstream print media entities, organisations, government institutions, etc., in Internet are reflective of a paradise of hate. In most case, they have no comment moderation policy in their social media badges except very few professional. Any one can post anything, share, reply, etc, beautiful!
The social media and social change interfaces now seem confined to a twofold debate between digital skeptics and optimists.

Regrettably, our experience with social media proves that we heard YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Blogger and a plethora of social media platforms for all bad reasons.

Alternative voice seldom surfaces in social media, but it reproduces what the traditional media entities are producing and conventional change makers are doing otherwise.

What Gandhi has done with Salt Satyagraha to effect Independence Movement or what Jayaprakash Narayan has done against corruption, inflation and poverty with ‘total revolution’ or what journalist P Sainath can do with pen to effect change in rural India could not be seen with social media.

Internet has done little to thicken political dialogue and democratizing democracy. Instead, Internet space has been a fiasco in respect of what it has been expected to be. The social media platform being projected as alternative platform for the unheard and unreached can never be spotted on.

The user-generated contents on Media outlets just replicate what has already discussed, debated and engaged by the digital natives in the comment thread, tweet post, wall posts, and other tools of interaction.

Social media platforms always seem to be mediated public than being an act in medium. The public that happens in the social media sites are not discursive rather it is more an act of blasphemy. The public sphere as a discursive space in Internet is often doubtful since the space is already monopolised by corporate interest and search engines.

Internet and new media as catalyst for representing the voice of the voiceless are shimmering since the voices seem mediated and here all voices echo sponsored.

Facebook community IROM SHARMILA having 6050 members as on 06-01-2013, unfortunately, have pool of membership which comprises only men in majority. Very few women members are active in community page. Identity and gender issues at street and town square have equally reproduced in social media.

Norm required in making social media a public space is that it should facilitate discussions, which are political in nature. It is bit confusing since the like mark on Facebook, photo sharing on Flickr, Blogger posts, video share on YouTube, or signing petition could have a political significance.

Many tools in social media platforms particularly Who is Online, Orkut chat, Open Chat Room, Streaming videos are used for illicit relations and sex text and many more deviant act.

Hidden and clandestine, a ‘sexsphere’ has already born. Social media spaces seem gendered, patriarchal, class based, religious, misogynist, caste based, sexist, power endowed, racial, sexualized and what not it has all the facial features of society.

Perusal of social media content makes the picture exceptionally plain and simple. YouTube videos of film stars, if taken for analysis reveals the prevailing male chauvinism against females especially actors are perfidious in the comment thread. Comments on videos of female film stars mirror sexist prejudices, misogyny and desire.

Social factors of sexuality, region, gender, class, social structure, caste, power, rights, equality, justice and a long list of powerful social forces, which arbitrates our social imagination in the “offline” world, reflected and reproduced digitally in Internet.

In the ‘globalised localised’ net and social media collaboration, a South Asia Vs US phenomenon exist. Analysing ‘social media-political interface’ in the context will no more bring meaning unless we are able to do away with American and European ‘intellectual vocabulary’, ‘analytical tools’ and’ categories’ to trace out the political effects of social media.

Pessimism and optimism both equally take over to buttress the interface of social media and political change. Flattering social media has almost attained flamboyant narrative currently.

Its not exaggeration to think that rich vocabulary has been piled up with studies on digital technology and social change but that configure and diametrically reflect American ‘ethno-centrism’ and ‘techno-centrism’ in contemporary world. Since most social media platforms are American, the values and social norms, which it reproduces, are American.

More importantly, most of terms already popularised in western academia are placed at the interface of social media and social change especially ‘topple’ down political systems, which are anti-people.

The rich vocabulary associated with analyzing the emancipatory potential of social media thus confines only to the ‘liberal’ question of ‘political freedom’.

There exist a strong reason to command a rich ‘vocabulary’ often reflecting local practices and indigenous characteristics. Importantly, indigenizing the debate about social media and its ‘emancipatory’ potential needs to be expanded to the attempt to developing a ‘critical vocabulary’ that equally reflect a ‘critical mass’ of intellectual concerns.

Exposure to online hate ideology occurs relatively frequent. The hate spaces are abundant in society and are not a new thing to people. However, such hate spaces are unbridled in online social spaces.

Human rights violations, racism, communalism, and almost all nauseating and repulsive tendencies are in the same way sparkling in online spaces. Social media brings about safe sanctuary for deviant behaviours. It is all because such platforms offer many tools by which people do things, which its creators never intended people should do.

We need a qualitative perception of hate and free speech. However, it is not the case with social web in India. More often it has used for all deviant purposes or we hear the story of it for all bad reasons.

Social media: Do we regulate?

The comment and reply thread of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages of mainstream print media entities, organisations, government institutions, etc., in Internet are reflective of a paradise of hate. In most case, they have no comment moderation policy in their social media badges except very few professional. Any one can post anything, share, reply, etc, beautiful!

Any digital native of any interest can make comments, replies, shares, tweet, and post about content in a newspaper column or any content there and make it viral in social media spaces. Here comes the trajectory of social media regulation. Since there is no strong moderation policy in comment and replies, it will have more negative consequences and far-reaching social effects.

Furthermore, the social media badges and other widgets of mainstreams television channels and their ‘Live’ programmes have no standard policy to moderate, restrain and control the comments and replies in interactive online platforms. Instead of making alternative platforms, social media just reproduces old narratives, categories and variables.

Our preconceived notions about women, gender, sex, rights, religion, society, etc., have equally reproduced in interactive online platforms. The social media badges of mainstream media entities are a safety valve because it has the highest Internet traffic compared to individual profiles and websites, which have no great audience pool.

Social media has just teleported a ‘flat public’ whereby what Thomas Friedman has said about ‘flattening of globe’ has just been extended.

Homogenisation of a global public has again aggravated by techno centrism of unwanted kind. Now everything is ‘flat’ from politicians to citizen, from government to civil society, from education to market and from hate to charity. Thanks to social media

Internet is a folk story. Activism in digital age, no matter, what ever be the medium is a parable, legend and fairy tale. We need to ‘regulate’ social media.


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This entry was posted on July 21, 2015 by .
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