With the emergence of social media, undoubtedly the world has become more connected and informed.
Social media offers freedom of speech, people’s involvement, and sharing of ideas (Khan, Swar, & Lee, 2014) However, negative content in the form of Cyberbullying, and sexual harassment is widely used and spread as well. It is crucial to analyze why such material needs to be stopped from getting publicly available.
Who should be responsible enough to keep such hostile and bad material away from spreading that is causing disturbance and hatred among the people of the world?
Let’s delve deeper till the end of this essay to find out the reasons that require us to stop them from being spread while observing their consequences. The deep analysis of such information will also help us find the best approaches that can be adopted by the government, these platform moderators, and the general public to come up with a solution that can reduce the harmful effects of content like pornography, violent content, bullying, and harassment.
Negative Impact of Social Platforms
According to PewCenter.org’s report, it has become very simple and easy for anyone to build a fake profile without getting caught. The negative messages that can seriously damage people and their lives can easily be made available on the internet.
“Tiktok Computer Cyberbullying Guy Boy Victim” by Hatice EROL is licensed under CC BY 2.0
People’s personal details and privacy can be at stake.
According to National Centre Against Bullying, any actions or words used with the help of technology against someone with the intention of causing harm to another person’s well-being and risking anyone’s life by a group of people are included in cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can be really dangerous for people’s lives.
Teenagers who are 14 to 17 years old had the greatest rate of Internet use, with 91% online availability per week in Australia. If we observe 10 children, one out of ten must have faced cyberbullying.
Unfortunately, it’s not clear who the strangers are. Kidnapping, murder, and other crimes can be done easily with the exchange of personal details. Many adults are trapping youngsters by luring them and various reports are registered in the police stations of such sorts. Influential bloggers are also using the masses for their own interests by influencing their opinions using social platforms. (Siddiqui & Singh, 2016)
Another element is Sexual harassment which is also linked to stereotypes, interpersonal relationships, and mental health, among people and people are venting out their aggression and violent emotions by harassing the public sexually through online media very easily. (Barak, 2005)
As stated in the “Commission’s 2012 Workplace Sexual Harassment Survey”, 17 percent of those polled had received emails and text messages that harassed them sexually, and 4 percent had suffered repeated/inappropriate approaches through email, and websites like Facebook, and Twitter.
“Woman Face Bullying Cyberbullying Stress Shame” by Gerd Altmann is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Sexual harassment has a number of detrimental health and psychological consequences. Not only women, it greatly impacts the economic conditions of the country. It discourages women’s empowerment, the pursuit of education, careers, and many prospective possibilities, women’s mental and physical health, and engagement on various platforms. For example, any woman may be compelled to hide in homes in order to escape sexual harassment in public places. They may get compelled to face unemployment if a coworker or a manager harasses them or to stop attending school due to harassment by a teacher. Some women may believe they are to blame for sexual harassment.
Among all of this, I am sure we all must have heard this thing from various sources where people try to film their intimate moments with their partners and post them publicly on social media.
Such hateful content is causing disaster in society and attacking basic human rights.
- The mental and physical health of the people is at stake.
- Fair working conditions are exploited.
- With the spread of bullying, the right to voice your opinion is getting affected as nobody will feel safe sharing their feelings and emotions.
- Children are no more protected from playing online games and can easily be targeted.
After observing all these negative effects, we can easily analyze how bullying, sexual harassment, and pornography deteriorate the development of society and its people. (Gerschick & Stan, 1997)
How can we protect society from online abuse?
Development communication should be initiated and promoted by including social media to achieve the desired result.
“The change could be brought on the economic, personal, spiritual, social, cultural, or political level” (McPhail, 2009). Using these platforms with powerful strategies and plans for development programs should be a matter of concern. (Moemeka, 1994). “Awareness-raising and behavior-change campaigns to bring social and cultural change can have a positive effect on increasing the development outcome.” (Obregon & Waisbord, 2012).
The current practices of Content Regulation by Major Platforms
Many popular platforms, the majority of which are owned by firms based in the United States, have comparable content-filtering practices. They discourage entries that promote violent messages, as well as social posts that include hateful comments and uncensored content which insult someone because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation, among other things. The main platforms are also putting efforts to minimize the spread of negative information, like evaluating the facts and figures and discouraging political advertisements.
”Social Media and Online Speech: How Should Countries Regulate Tech Giants?“ by Anshu Siripurapu and Will Merrow is licensed under CC BY 2.0
However, such controversies are also popular that these online websites have failed to do justice to the content that was posted by influential people and people with great authority. These rules are not implied in a consistent way.
For example, Twitter and Facebook have allowed the use of accounts that can serve the public’s interest like former US President Donald J. Trump, who was successful in posting abusive or misleading information. On the other hand, if a common man would do this, it must not have been published.
The Assembly believes that these online platforms’ internal policies should be changed to properly encourage users’ rights to free expression and access to information. This involves fostering a variety of points of view and a plethora of data, avoiding the increase of illicit content via different account holders, and making them efficient to combat disinformation.
In the United States, the standards of data posting and its policies should have been revised and religiously followed. However, the authoritative bodies should be considering additional legislation and restrictions. Other nations have enacted or proposed legislation that would require social media corporations to do more to monitor online platforms.
Censorship regimes in authoritarian countries are normally stringent, although several Western democracies have adopted harder stances on online expression in Australia and Germany.
Undoubtedly, regulating the content on the internet has become a challenging task for the government and various big platforms as everyone has access to post anything out there and it needs time, manpower, and money to regulate the content and stop harmful content from spreading. However, if we as a nation become responsible to voice our opinions against negative content and raise awareness among the general public to stop seeing such content, then only such content spread can come to an end. As no government or social media moderators can do the job unless we become responsible too. Being parents, we should also keep a check on our children’s online activities by limiting their internet access and by protecting their search results. We all should promote the use of AI tools that can help us identify any destructive content.
By allowing yourself to stay on the positive side of social media usage, one can easily bring the change that is the need of time. It’s high time to reflect and modify your behaviors to promote social awareness among your friends and family. At the end of the day, human lives are important and precious and they should not be compromised at all.
Bailey, J. J. (1998). Review: Australian Broadcasting Authority, Australian Content on Pay TV: Investigation in Connection with Subsection 215(2) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. Media International Australia, 86(1), 153–154. https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878×9808600113
Barak, A. (2005). Sexual Harassment on the Internet. Social Science Computer Review, 23(1), 77–92. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439304271540
Gerschick, T. J., & Stan, A. (1997). Debating Sexual Correctness: Pornography, Sexual Harassment, Date Rape and the Politics of Sexual Equality. Teaching Sociology, 25(4), 368. https://doi.org/10.2307/1319316
Khan, G. F., Swar, B., & Lee, S. K. (2014). Social Media Risks and Benefits. Social Science Computer Review, 32(5), 606–627. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439314524701
Lee, Changho. (2016). The Causes, Effects, and Policy Measures of Cyberbullying among Youths: Focusing on Interview with Youths with Cyberbullying Experiences. Journal of Political Communication, null(43), 231–260. https://doi.org/10.35731/kpca.2016..43.008
Siddiqui, S., & Singh, T. (2016). Social Media its Impact with Positive and Negative Aspects. International Journal of Computer Applications Technology and Research, 5(2), 71–75. https://doi.org/10.7753/ijcatr0502.1006