Social media

A lot is being written about how to impose ethics on social media activity. By its very nature, it is difficult for any one country to monitor social media platforms and ensure that unacceptable content is not uploaded on. However, one positive development is that now even in the US, where most social media giants are located, people are expressing concerns about its misuse through the spread of fake news, hate speech and online bullying. Social media platforms are now trying to develop controls to address these concerns within their own country.
In the meantime, the quickest method to address this issue is to prohibit the anonymity of social media accounts. At its best, the social media can act as a virtual town hall, where people can express their grievances and exchange differing points of view. While the right to express one’s opinion should not be undermined, the ability to do this anonymously should not count as a fundamental right.
Those hiding behind the mask of anonymity, knowing there is no accountability for them, often exploit this by resorting to abuse and hate speech. In some cases, they may even impersonate individuals, which is identity theft. The Pakistan government should take measures to this effect — a mega task but not impossible. Some kind of domestic verification service can be developed (along the same lines as Twitter) and, after a given time, all non-verified accounts can be blocked.
Official social media accounts of news organisations should also ensure that only those with verified accounts are able to comment on their posts. I believe all responsible social media users will favour this approach. Already, we observe that most users with verified Twitter accounts are generally more careful of the language they use. The suggested approach will improve the quality of social media interactions to a considerable extent.
TANZEEL MUHAMMAD
Karachi

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