An unbridled horse

FOR several years, we are experiencing a number of alarming situations, taking place in our country, observed on social media platform. At this moment we are dealing with communal violence incited by Facebook posts, but we are ignoring the grievous factors, which is now transpiring in our country. People’s tolerance level is deteriorating day by day. These incidents, from the bloody communal violence in Ramu of Cox’s-Bazar to the recent violence in Rangpur, prove that at present social media is being utilised as a tool for spreading abhorrence and violence, which is jeopardising our social harmony.
But use of social media needs far more moral and ethical inculcation. Because the contents, the users are sharing in social media, have the ability to affect the society rigorously. Social media platforms have a great impact on our society as a couple of social movements were initiated through these platforms, especially the Facebook. Regrettably, most of the social media users of our country don’t know how to utilise this platform properly. This careless use of social media can be compared with someone’s riding on an unbridled horse without knowing how to ride on it.
The social platform is a great way for communicating and sharing one’s noetic conceptions, ideas and information with mass people. Social media is making the world more adjoining to us day by day. This platform can be utilised for either good or ill intention. But in recent times, a number of incidents and circumstances prove that we are heading towards a wrong way.
It’s needless to mention that, most of the social media users are students and youths. Most of them have come from schools, colleges and universities. Instead of acquiring knowledge about the real world, they’re depending on their virtual life given by the social platform. They’re spending more time on social media rather than studying or engaging themselves in productive activities. At present the young users, almost ignoring the real-life challenges, have too much dependency on the virtual world. This virtual dependency makes them more dispirited and frustrated.
In addition, cyber-bullying has turned into one of the alarming concerns on social media at present. Our girls’ privacy is not only at stake in the roads, buses or malls but also on social media. Girls are bullied in various public groups on social media. They often get execrative and obscene messages, reactions or proposals on their personal accounts from some ribald users. Sometimes, girls are even bullied by higher educated people. Now, the social platform is used as the heaven for such type of crimes. As the perpetrators remained untouched after committing these types of crimes the situation is deteriorating over times.
It’s hard to ignore that mocking a well-known person has become a prevalent and customary thing on social media. There are many pages, especially on Facebook that are intended to slandering celebrities publicly by posting edited contents like photos, videos or status. And these posts’ intention is to defame that person in a blatant way. The most alarming fact is, this sort of behaviour is known as ‘trolling’ to the social media users. One can criticise someone’s work but that should be done in a constructive manner. The way they mock, where we should use the term ‘defamation’ actually, is completely like slandering someone.
Using the word ‘trolling’, instead of defamation or abjection, is making it mordant or sarcastic and seems acceptable to all. It’s clearly the manipulation of language and its meaning. These contents generally get thousands of likes, comments and shares by the users without cross-checking the true facts and entirely ignoring a prominent person’s personal life and privacy. The users find it as a source of entertainment, which is a matter of deep concern.
Another thing is, social media is always creating different groups of opinions in every single matter. By influencing people with false information it is very easy to create intolerance on this platform. And some users, sharing adult contents or using adult words publicly, are neglecting the fact that everyone from every age is watching and reading those contents. This informal and blatant manner of using this platform is making many users uncomfortable.
Another serious problem now we’re facing through social media is the relentless flow of negative and false information. There are hundreds of online news portals based on social media platform and those are trying to confuse and provoke people by publishing misleading and often exaggerated news, information and contents. The online portals are now endeavouring to reach mass people by utilising social media as a tool. And the authority is taking no step against this kind of misleading online portals, which is engendering more and more mystifications among the viewers, creating unrest.
Not only that, some perpetrators are utilising the social platform intentionally to hamper the coexistence between different religious groups. Ramu’s incident of 2012 and recent mayhem in Rangpur were engendered based on a Facebook status. Without checking the actual facts, local people are emotionally engaging themselves with violence. Alarmingly, the frequency of these incidents is now increasing alarmingly.
Internet and smart phones are now reached throughout the country. Without having proper edification and guideline, even the rural people are utilising the internet, smart phones as well as social media. Most of them are using this media without proper knowledge. Utilising this media is so much easy today that anyone can use it without having a relative inculcation. But in case of social media, sometimes even academic education is not enough for using this platform.
On social media, we all express our thoughts on different domestic, international and personal matters. The social platform should be open for all of us and the authority shouldn’t interfere with this as this is our one of the few platforms where we have the liberty to verbalise up against any odds. But situations are going beyond control as some people endeavouring to utilise this platform as a tool to spread hatred where a large number of people are deplorably influenced by this platform consciously or subconsciously and both are leaving the society imperilled.
Our authority and NGOs should promote the proper ways to use social platform ceaselessly. And last but not the least — the perpetrators should be penalised by the law. And most importantly, as a responsible citizen, we should come forward to improve our ethics and moral values and also create a social awareness against intolerance. Otherwise, our century-old heritage of social harmony among cultural and religious diversity would face its extinction.

Arafat-Al-Yeasin is a student of mass communication and journalism at Dhaka University.

Source: New Age.

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