September 22, 2021

Is social media ruling the 21st century

Nowadays, social media is the most powerful weapon that has been used by everyone either poor or rich people throughout the world which has brought big revolutions as well as solutions to the various routine problems in the present corrupt system. It has not only been serving to provide the great booster in terms of communication but also a platform to share the feelings, emotions and even sorrows and pleasures with anyone. With the tremendous proliferation of the variety of phones with the internet, social media has become dominant over all other sources of media. Notwithstanding there were a lot of death and suicide cases which were reported in past in Pakistan when there was no rule but since after the introduction and legitimation of Cyber Crime Act, there is clear path for everyone to use it with safe and secure atmosphere. That is the reason that all elite class families as well as most religious families in Pakistan and Muslim world are also using social media which was considered by them in past as ‘unethical’ platform on internet.

With the popularity of the usage of social media in the world, people have started to keep themselves with the general news through social media. Example is the trend of watching news specially on the updates of environmental or climatic conditions which were keenly searched by the people of Sindh during the current monsoon 2020. In these consequences, 86% of the Facebook users from Sindh watched weather reports during the rainfall season and most of them were from Karachi where floods hit the city while as a large number of population from all Pakistan is habitual to use social media for the news purposes which they were getting from Television, Radio and then paper media.   

Social media has also a direct impact on the electoral systems throughout the world and during the past presidential elections in the United States, it was known that only Facebook was involved in it which was also admitted by its CEO to whatever extent his company was involved as over 125 million users discussed such elections news etc on Facebook which was considered as fast channel of news sharing too. Likewise more than 1 billion Tweets were recorded on another popular social media application Twitter. In this way, more than 84% of people use social media for the purpose of news only in the United States of America and Canada. Therefore, social media is well known and people get connected to each other from one angle of the world to another.

Adding to the merits of social media, Entrepreneurship is the best hobby to learn from many people through social media. Facebook and LinkedIn have various groups, Twitter has different trends while Google and Yahoo have news of the business tycoons which create an energetic craze among the business persons throughout the world and people get inspirations from each other to think logically, critically and ideologically to innovate ideas for the new trends in business. Unfortunately, Pakistan has a large number of BBA and MBA graduates from private or public sector universities but only a few of them become ‘business person’ while as rest of them become teachers, bank managers, bank cashiers and formally pass their time as like other common graduates do. In this way, the purpose of BBA/MBA education drops and the vision to create ideas and implement for business is not fulfilled. That is the reason for high saturation in these fields and after MBBS and BE, it has become a craze of students to get admission in BBA/ MBA not for learning how to start and run a successful business but only to secure a job in the banks! Entrepreneurship brings into action the creative and unique ideas and university nurtures the business personnels to generate these ideas.

Likewise, privacy and security is the top most issue in social media. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Whats-App do not only contain the secret information of various departments either public or private sector but also has its previous record in a big number which various department officials and authorities share within their circles in their groups, personal chat and inbox etc. Notwithstanding this big risk, there is peak level of useful credentials of social media though these websites ensure top secrecy but again there is chance of ‘hacking’ by the professional hackers like as in past the websites of USA houses i.e. the Pentagon was hacked badly where a lot of scammers attacked and theft the information. Such risk is also on the top of list in terms of the banking sector and previous year ATM cards in China were hacked which was a demerit of social media wherein scammers send different spam emails to millions of emails and ask for sharing bank information. That is a big gap in social media on which the popular websites are working but not sufficient success has been seen in this regard. However, there may be a greater and better usage of artificial intelligence applications to improve the privacy and security of information.  

Consequently, vulgar material containing unethical/ pornographic stuff is also a big problem for the global students’ community where many pre-puberty age students watch such stuff and get involved within such spammers circles. There were many cases of child pornography reported in the past 02 years in Pakistan and it was shocking to know that there are a lot networking chains of such professional pornographers where children and adolescents naked videos and photos are recorded and later on used for blackmailing and bullying purposes. Personally, one of my friends reported to me that in one of the big hotels in Karachi, it was checked and found that there were hidden and secret cameras fixed even in the male washrooms which were seen and reported to the police. Such hidden cameras are used to record the personal moments of either male or female and are later on sold on social media for a handsome amount of dollars abroad. A lot of efforts have been made by the Government of Pakistan to ban such ethical websites but every time these pornographers come with a unique and new but common name so that their jammers or banners may not trace them. This is a big threat for ladies especially who are caught later by the same recorded contacts and are emotionally, socially and even physically harrassed and used by the criminals and their final stage becomes “suicide” as Dr. Maha did!

To conclude, all government authorities must meet together and work seriously on the cyber crime act and its implementation. Federal Investigation Authorities must conduct an outreach program from country to province and district to union council level with the help of ‘religious’ and ‘political’ leaders as well as media personnel in order to aware common people and to conduct sessions in all government institutions especially in the college and universities so that more number of students get fully aware about the effective, efficient and secure use of social media. Ministries of Education must include such basic knowledge of privacy and security in the updating curriculum and conduct training of their officials for sustainable improvement.

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