Spreading Hatred on Social Media is Not Freedom of Expression

Freedom to spread racial hatred on social media is not freedom of expression by any means


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Spreading Hatred on Social Media is Not Freedom of Expression


Freedom to spread racial hatred on social media is not freedom of expression by any means.

25 UN human rights experts recently said this in a joint statement. In the statement, experts noted that the use of racist words has increased significantly since the recent acquisition of Twitter. Through this, hatred is being spread against the people of Africa. A robust accountability system is needed through social media in this regard.

In the first days of Twitter's acquisition, especially in the first 12 hours of acquisition, the use of hateful and racist words increased almost 500 times than before, the United Nations experts said in a statement citing the report of Rutgers University's 'Network Contagion Research Institute. UN experts said Twitter called the hate campaign a mockery, saying there was no room for hatred. But the hatred spewed against people of African descent is of great concern, and it demands a human rights-centered response.

The statement said that hate speech is not a concern on Twitter and other social media platforms such as Meta. Many who oppose hate speech claim that there is a gap in social media policy commitments and implementation, particularly in Facebook's approval of electoral disinformation, discussion of conspiracy theories, and inflammatory advertising. Recent Global Witness and Sumofus studies show that Meta cannot block certain ads.

UN experts said that after many complaints, Meta took the initiative to launch an important mechanism, the Monitoring Board, in 2020. It may take a long time to see the effectiveness of this board. Social media requires continued commitment at the highest level to review and revise its processes to address the incitement of racial hatred online. UN experts who gave statements included the president and members of the UN Working Group on African Descent, Business, Transnational Corporations, and Human Rights.

It is important to bring social media within the rules. It is now a reality that in our country as well, social media has gained immense popularity in the contemporary world. On the one hand, it has excessive practical importance; on the other hand, the level of abuse creates an unwanted wall of ugliness-skepticism-fear in society. At the crossroads of bad culture, false, baseless propaganda of politics-religion-economy-general social phenomena, communalism, malice, intolerance, violence, conflict, and separation are becoming obstacles in the smooth flow of life.

Professional, intellectual, and civil personalities with various negative statements are creating an anarchic situation. This social conflict prolongs unbearable suffering in the lives of the masses. It is very important to analyze how much the deviation of the creative, thinking, human, and moral character of young society under the cover of modern information technology will play a role in building a normal society in the future.

There is no room for doubt that the beautiful woman will fall into the gulf of deep darkness if she fails to understand the different forms of social media dependency, which is taking a different form of the horrible reality that social communication dependency is taking away from the rich textbook- biographical knowledge and rational reading of world-renowned personalities.

In 2010, the famous British writer Howard Jacobson, who won the Booker Prize, expressed fear, "Facebook-Twitter will make children imprudent in 20 years." Children of the future generation will be illiterate due to the dominance of various social media, including Facebook and Twitter. With the use of smartphones and a large number of social media, including Facebook and Twitter, the communication method of the young generation is changing dramatically. Because of all this, they are losing the habit of reading books. According to criminologist experts, social media has recently become our daily companion.

This medium is affecting our human qualities. Many are getting involved in crimes like money laundering, aggressive games, and rape. Many are mentally unstable. Due to its excessive use, the risk of various diseases, including anger-anger-depression-depression-loneliness-frustration-heart disease, is increasing. According to Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is concerned about the misuse of social media, 'social media is not for wasting time. It can be beneficial if used properly. But if you sit here and digest whatever is shown, it won't happen.'

In recent times, some people said to be based abroad have started cyber warfare to create unrest in the country. According to the report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented at the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, besides making positive contributions, many expatriate and migrant Bangladeshis are engaged in propaganda against Bangladesh. The image of Bangladesh is being questioned due to their frequent presence and dissemination of anti-national objectionable comments and speeches in various media, including social media.

Due to the various legal complexities of the countries where they are staying, it is often challenging to take action against them. The list of terrorists engaged in these heinous activities has already been sent to the concerned Bangladesh Missions. Bangladesh embassies will apply to the respective governments to bring them under the law of those countries and bring them to justice.

According to sources published in the media, 70 percent of the world's Internet users are connected to social media, of which almost 90 percent are young. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Skype, etc., are Bangladesh's most popular social media. Eighty percent of internet users in Bangladesh have Facebook accounts, and a large portion of them are teenagers.

According to the survey results of various domestic and international organizations, a significant number of young men and women are suffering from deviant mental problems due to misuse of social media attention to study sports and busying themselves with electronic devices day and night. This social communication has been considered as a means of various dimension crimes, including providing false information-hate-hate, sex and obscenity-character assassination-currency, and human trafficking-gambling-cyber violence.

The rise of crime on social media has resulted in many sites like YouTube and Facebook taking steps to prevent the first exposure of content, including quickly removing unacceptable and harmful content, as a result of law enforcement worldwide. YouTube and Facebook authorities regularly publish information to remove inappropriate content.

According to the Google-owned video-sharing site, they removed 8.8 million videos, 3.3 million harmful channels, and 517 million unacceptable comments between July and September 2022. Facebook authorities claim that they removed 30 million harmful contents during the mentioned period, but the company alone can't prevent it due to the abundance of unacceptable and dangerous content. It is increasing day by day despite hundreds of efforts by regulatory companies.

It has also been proposed to require some conditional registration from BTRC for every website, social media, and online entertainment platform operating in Bangladesh. One condition is that any website or social media operating in the country must have its office in Bangladesh. NOC from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is mandatory for websites that have news-curated content, films, or web series.

Various countries worldwide are also trying to regulate social media based on legal frameworks. The German government enacted the NetzDG in 2018 to establish a system for social media companies to review complaints about objectionable content published on their sites, remove content within 24 hours of publication, and update reports every six months on the companies' performance, according to an analysis of media data. Disclosure is mandated.

According to the Social Media Regulation Act 2021 in India, the Indian government can request Facebook-Twitter-WhatsApp and other media authorities to delete a user's post and reveal the user's identity. Social media regulation was enacted in Australia in 2019, punishing financial and technology executives with up to 10 percent of the companies' global turnover for publishing hateful and violent content.

Laws that took effect in November 2021 allow Russia to shut down global web connections in an emergency. Russia's data law allows social media companies to store data about Russians only on internal servers in the country. The Government of Canada's Social Media Regulation Act criminalizes child pornography, hate speech, and the publication of intimate images without consent, allowing police to take direct action against social platforms and those who post such comments.

The China Cyberspace Administration regularly shuts down various websites and removes harmful mobile apps, including gambling. Hundreds of thousands of cyber police in the country are tasked with monitoring social media platforms and sensitive screen messages regularly.

Basically, according to the scriptures of every religion, the infiltration of distorted thoughts and ideas by axing at the root of the traditional customs-sociology-truth-beautiful-welfare-joy-based culture-tradition is facing a profound challenge to social media. Now is the time to think about what the generation will get into the lie-deceit-fraud-incoherence equation.

Any kind of anti-social behavior, like some self-indulgent ignorant drug addicts, must be avoided. Without delay, thinking about the logical future of this planet called Earth and formulating strategies to take visible steps, implementing adequate measures to prevent and control the arising problems is the urgent demand of the time. Be careful using social media.

Nowadays, business is being conducted around this medium. The door of e-commerce has opened. Various knowledge-science and art-literature practice organizations are being developed around this social media. In essence, there is no aspect of life where social media does not have an impact. In the last decade, a new horizon has started in the IT sector in Bangladesh. As a result, we now have unprecedented growth in communication. Proper use of this communication medium can be essential to our personal and national development. Therefore, reviewing social media's positive and negative aspects is necessary. Social media use makes us sociable or antisocial, which is a critical question. The answer to this question may vary from person to person.

Everything in the world has both positive and negative aspects. But what matters most is how we embrace and use the positive aspects of anything. Thanks to social media, a great medium of business has started. In this mechanized busy life, many people cannot go to shops and markets to buy their daily necessities. E-commerce has become a light of hope in their busy life. Social media is the survival method of various reputed business organizations or small businessmen to promote their salable products to buyers. To reap the benefits of this e-commerce, many unemployed youths are currently turning to entrepreneurship. As a result, many people are now turning to online businesses and are seeing success.

We need to accept that the excessive use of social media is causing adverse changes in our real lives and creating a massive barrier to connecting with our family members, relatives, and friends. It's best to sit up front and talk to anyone. However, due to the excessive addiction to social media, we are more comfortable exchanging thoughts virtually. But the reality is that our dependence on technology constantly pushes us away from real life and makes us mechanized.

Written by: Hiren Pandit

Bio: Hiren Pandit is an essayist, researcher, and columnist based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He can be contacted at hiren.bnnrc@gmail.com 


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