The Need Of Regulations For Social Media
This Blog is written by Abhishek Kishan from Central University of South Bihar, Gaya. Edited by O.S.S.Sarada Rasagnya.
Nobody nowadays can deny the fact that social media plays a potential role in uniting peoples across the globe. It has become the most favorite activity to hang out over social media through texting voice/video calling and whatnot. Businesses are being run through the social media platforms; views and feedbacks can be given or taken for “informative” purposes, election campaigns are organized over these platforms even some times informal polls are also organized. Every coin has two faces and so does these platforms have. It’s really fascinating to point out the bright side of anything but it’s important to be aware of the consequences.
Discussing any further first we should get ourselves clear about “what exactly a social media is”?
“Forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and micro blogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)” 
“Websites and computer programs that allow people to communicate and share information on the internet using a computer or mobile phone” 
Social media sites have 3 defining characteristics.
1.Majority of content is user generated.
2.High degree of participation/interaction between users.
3.Easily integrates with other sites.
By this definition then, social media platforms include things like blogs (such as Blogger, WordPress, Type pad), social networking (Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn), social bookmarking (Delicious, Stumble Upon) news sharing (Digg, Yahoo! Buzz) and photo and video sharing sites (Flickr, Vimio and YouTube). These are, of course, just a few examples.
On flipping the coin to its darker side, we will suddenly come to know the unsaid, unknown that how vicious and devastating the consequences it can trigger if not handled with care. Prima facie each and every characteristic seems very obvious to us but it possesses quite a lot of potential to coup up any well-established government overnight, its capable enough to spark riots, disharmony, panic across the nation and even can compromise national security. In recent time such types of disruptive incidences have witnessed a surge across the nation. The most recent incident at Palgarh district of Maharashtra where three men lynched by local villagers on the basis of WhatsApp messages alleging those three as thieves. The mob “mistakenly” has beaten them down to death following the WhatsApp message. Platforms like Tik Tok where no guidelines regarding age restrictions has be directed by the creators of the app/platform for the user can be used as an easy tool to create immoral stuffs, insensible contents and disruptive messages and provides a safe haven to the propaganda creators. The dark side discussed so far gets even darker when it comes to data privacy of the user. As a sensible move the Indian Government has banned the platform called Tik Tok in a bid to beef up the privacy of citizens and neutralized the eminent threat to the national security. All it takes a few texts to set the nation on fire, bring hatred, tear apart the tranquility, piousness of the nation.
WHY DO WE NEED TO REGULATE THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS?
“Prevention is better than cure” we all have been made familiar with this quote during our primary education. There is no doubt that social media platform plays a very crucial role in our lives and it brings considerable or precisely to say absolute power to express our views but as every law student have been kept abreast of the quote “the absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This fragment of the quote of Lord Acton suites absolutely in this context.
In a bid to curb down the fake news and misleading stories about the COVID-19 pandemic The Indian government has written to top social media companies including Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Share Chat and Twitter.,
In an advisory sent on Friday, the government asked social media platforms to start awareness campaigns, remove misinformation from the platform and promote authentic information on the virus
in a press conference over social media and threat, one of the renowned academician Jonathan Wareham in his take mentioned “they (social media platforms) are platforms for free speech and assume no responsibility for what their users communicate. The more difficult question is how to do this effectively while differentiating between their various forms”.
Major technology companies- such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, SNAP and others- define the information ecosystem in much of the world. Hardly regulated and hardly accountable, these companies are completely transforming the public sphere.
While these platforms present new opportunities to connect people around the world, they also create attack surfaces for bad actors that wish to spread misinformation, encourage terrorism, engage in online harassment, steal personal data, restrict free speech and suppress dissent.
The age of unregulated social media must end. But bad regulation could cause its own problems. Now is the time to have these discussions- before we end up with misguided rules, and before it is too late. Across the country, on university campuses, at industry conferences, and other public Right now, the technology companies operate with little scrutiny.
It’s crucial that there is more transparency–both to the government and to independent researchers who can help society to understand the consequences of these vast new communications platforms. This means access to data and systems. This is complicated, but it is necessary if we are to ensure these technologies are, at the very least, a net benefit to society going forward. Conversations should center on how to create frameworks and mechanisms that provide for such scrutiny. University researchers, for instance, can serve as a powerful partner to governments and technology companies in understanding these platforms and how society uses them, we urgently need to frame and debate these issues. In my personal opinion, the social media platforms should introduce age restrictions policies and shall stick to it, so that the more sensible and less sensitive audiences can be targeted. Government policing over social media shall be avoided and freedom of expression shall be left sacrosanct at any cost.