Indians and the Not so ‘Social’ Media

With over 260 million active social media users, India is not even half-way in reaching to its 130 million population. But, it is now one of the largest market for social media use. However, it has got miles to cover when dealing with the consequences that arise from the frivolous use of social media.

Widespread internet use and the consequent online harassment that it generates is not restricted to a particular country anymore. However, due to the huge numbers, popular Reddit pages trending the Indian men thread and the hilarious memes that are born out of them are a source of amusement as well as concern for many. I believe that Reliance and Mukesh Ambani could have first spread awareness of the various creeps that lurk behind the anonymity of the internet and the various other types of individuals that any 9-year-old surfing the web might come across before they launched Jio.

Albeit the country which provides original content to the most subscribed YouTuber, PewDiePie, whose views skyrocket when he puts ‘Indian’ in the title of his videos, no woman, no matter the country, will find photo-shopped images of themselves with a foreign men on their social media feed , romantic, EVER.

Hiding behind the definition of a troll by urban dictionary won’t decrease the intensity of the crime known as online harassment. Be it cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying or the much uglier form of online harassment: revenge porn, the authority/ enforcement of laws against these cyber crimes remains a question mark.  Sections 67 and 67A of the IT Act are against the publishing and circulation of what the act calls ‘obscene’ or ‘lascivious’ content. Technically, one can argue that if the persons featured in the video or image did not engage in filming those acts, the clip or picture would not have existed. Moreover, if the person had shared it with the perpetrator, that could also be held against him or her. So in a country where rape videos are put on sale, how can one expect to be safe from “revenge porn”, especially when the law can backfire accusing the victim itself of partaking in pornography on account of sending private pictures willingly. Which brings us to square one, lack of awareness and the lack of scrutinizing the matter at hand through a pinhole.

Bringing civility back to society is a challenging task when social media can be the biggest foe as well as the biggest ally. After all said and done, the platform which was once met with such immense enthusiasm and high hopes, hopefully, could be reunited with that same charm and integrity once the dust of history settles.