By Dr Saeed Ahmed Ali
LAHORE – In the cyber world of modern steroid technology, Internet is playing a pivotal role in constructing human life, but, at the same time, deteriorating the social lives of the individuals through breaking domestic and social value-bonds and standings of society.
The social media is one of the largest modern-day facility provider tool. But it has drowned its users in a sea of irrelevant information and news rather than providing awareness of valuable stories or relevant information. Basically internet facility is used for entertainment, communication, acquiring knowledge and as a modern-day propaganda tool.
Apart from all necessary requirements, excessive use of internet is affecting physical and psychological health of individuals.
According to a reference-interview with the Herald, renowned IT expert Mr J.Virk had explained how misinformation is put on technological steroids through hash-tags.
In our society, with a great deal of emphasis on artificial appearances, the social media is promoting a culture of virtual world and not that of the real one.
Particularly, this platform is manipulating the women with dangerously negative attitudes. Speaking about the norms, girls and women are told to adapt to a system of ethical values that stem from exact definition of right and wrong.
Simply, the potential anonymity of the social media is emboldening the women, particularly young generation through violating society norms. Specifically, if a woman resists this norm, she has to face verbal reprimands, harassment or physical torture and even death.
Here arises a question: how to determine the right or wrong path of liberty for females and how to stop them from developing in them a fake sense of not accepting the rules and social norms. Not being a highly educated society, we are governed by the Internet world, in which a single digital click can destroy a social bond or a life.
The most horrible picture of the political tactic in a social media war zone is that a fake news has the power even to make or break the governments.
This is the age of capsules and molecules, and there is no settled limit to what an extent an average person could be stopped from destroying somebody. For example, how to stop a person or friend to misuse the social media tool by taking revenge, blackmailing or harassment.
Similarly, through the use of a fake editing, an innocent photograph could be turned into a immoral image, which might lead to character assassination, abusive trolling, targeted harassment and spreading of disinformation.
The recent media reports regarding a dispute between actor Mohsin Ali and his wife Fatima Sohail also depict that how misuse of social media is disturbing the social life, after getting blackmailed or trapped, through such steroid tools, the acts like committing suicide, divorce and other social complications were awful manifestation of how the social media in our country was being exploited for subjugation of women and young generation.
According to a ‘USA-Today’ recent report, our cyber footprints are used more frequently for research and trend-tracking than ever before.
The report reveals that both Instagram and Facebook now have “story” features that like ‘Snap chat’ allow anyone to view your most recent location. “This can become an issue if people you don’t know are able to see exactly where you are,” it further said.
A noted sociologist, Professor Manzoor Ahmed Alvi, said that detection of a cyber problem was still not as swift as the spread of an evil or the propaganda in the cyber age. The Internet and social media were expanding at such a breakneck pace, that fake news and misinformation seem to be travelling at the speed of light.
The collective social and psychological norms of our society, including fears of personal information theft, reaction of family members, shame and societal pressure is shaping an imbalanced and uncertain system in which no safety of personal life is guaranteed.
Thus, the situation has become more complex and complicated, and the only solution to this issue is a need for a long-term censorship or cleansing of the stuff through the latest devices or by altering societal attitudes. By using it positively, the social media has the power to do a great deal of good.
According to an online social media usage report data, Emerson T Brooking and P W Singer, who work with ‘New America’ IT Research Company in Washington DC, roughly 500 million tweets are sent each day and nearly seven hours of footage is uploaded on YouTube every second in 76 languages.
Emerson and P W Singer have written a book titled “LikeWar: The Weaponisation of Social Media”, which says that around 3.4 billion people in the world (less than half of the global population) were the Internet users.
Similarly, according to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) sources, there are 62 million subscribers of high speed broadband Internet in the country.
The immense size of the digital universe makes it easy to disseminate a manipulated and doctored images/ video clips without much scrutiny.