Social media is a boon to many, but it is also a platform where hatred is spread. The recent incident in which social media giant Facebook live-streamed the massacre at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, showed how worse it can get. Before Facebook removed the 17-minute-long video, it had been played around 4,000 times. The worst part was that it had been circulated on other platforms like YouTube and WhatsApp by then.
However, the company stated that no user had reported about the video while it was being live-streamed. The first user report came after 12 minutes. Facebook confirmed that almost 1.5 million videos of the mosque shootings were removed within a day of the attack. Facebook received a lot of flak for live-streaming the video and many questioned its ethics. There were many who threatened to quit the platform because of this, however, it was Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s CEO, who quit Facebook suggesting that the platform needed a cleanup and that they could have done more to prevent such hatred being spread.
Tony had around 6,70,000 followers on Facebook. “It is a great platform to communicate... Strong engagement and very useful but New Zealand was too much for me to take along with all the other issues,” he tweeted after quitting Facebook. Tony, who has 1.3 million followers on Twitter, also thought of quitting Twitter at one stage, but didn’t. “I totally agree with the stand Tony Fernandes has taken. At many times, I myself have thought about deactivating my account, because of the sheer lack of ethics, but I have had second thoughts on how am I going to gather business if I were to quit this huge medium. That’s the advantage and control that Facebook or any other social media platform has over us. We depend so much on social networking these days, which has started taking our lives, be it in the form of our profits, business dealings or even marketing. I can’t think of a solution here, but there is always a better way of maintaining and policing the social media ethics,” says Aswathy Pillai, a model and emc.
She adds: “It’s saddening to see so much hatred on social media these days whether it is based on religion, politics or race. This trend started a few years back and it’s going for the worse with many more considering this to be a forum for venting out their hatred against what they oppose. And the horrifying fact is that Facebook itself doesn’t have a control of it or maybe they choose to ignore all that’s going on. The massacre video was removed by Facebook only after being watched and shared by millions around the world. When social media is a boon to people like me, where we showcase our business or talents, or even does product sales, it is being misused in several ways.”
Adarsh S.V. Nair, head of Information Security of a leading MNC, believes that the recent attack in New Zealand is an example of the serious misuse of features like openness and reach of social media. “When the feature of real-time sharing of content to a larger audience was being misused to spread fake news, there emerged methodologies to tackle the problem. While algorithms to devalue fake news have started to gain momentum, there raised the problem of extremists spreading their ideas, which can be violent and explicit demonstrations, especially in the form of videos. Tony Fernandes marked his protest on the issue by quitting Facebook. As a renowned entrepreneur, with numerous followers on social media, his move brought world’s attention to the issue, which might accelerate the urgency to find a solution for the same. The possibilities of technologies like Analytics along with Machine Learning and Computer Vision need to be explored in tackling this problem.”
Entrepreneur Anitha Thomas asserts that we need to maintain absolute control of what we do on Facebook. Those who are part of the platform are expected to maintain a high degree of maturity and self control. “Tony Fernandes said it was heartbreaking for him to see the video. Fernandes’ decision is hardly surprising to me. We appreciate the purity of his thoughts and actions, and the accolades he received thereafter. There is too much negativity and exhibitionism on social media nowadays. All kinds of violence such as against women, minorities, children etc., are being normalised and people consume such rubbish with ghoulish glee and fascination. To preserve one’s sanity, it is better to quit such platforms.”...