As Digital India dawns upon us, we Indians are having a great time tri-coloring our facebook profile pictures. Then there are some who do not align with all this pomp and show, those who think changing the profile photo with the colors of our flag means supporting facebook’s pet devil – internet.org or PM Modi. Follow a facebook discussion on this topic and you will notice how things take a bizarre turn. Those who haven’t updated their profile photos are termed anti-Modi, Pro-AAP, Congress supporters, anti-National and in some cases asked to go to Pakistan!
Why this Kolaveri Di?
India stands today as one of the most politically polarized nations and we see people debating, defending and abusing on social media all the time. While some may term debating on social media ‘healthy’ (except for being a colossal waste of time), it gets hateful way too fast. The root of the problem lies in hateful posts and while I have already blogged about how to get rid of annoying facebook posts (read here), I just wanted to write another post to let you know how you can do your bit. You can always let facebook know about how these posts spoil your facebook experience. Below is what I wrote to facebook when they removed a post I reported as inappropriate,
In an ideal World, facebook would primarily be used to stay in touch with long lost friends and connect with people that matter. Facebook would not be a platform to spit hatred on someone only because they speak a certain language, support a certain political party or follow a certain religion and ideology.
The Way Forward
As the web gets smarter, facebook should find a way to automatically filter posts that spread hatred and goes against their community standards instead of manually looking at them when somebody files a report. Facebook can already recognize your friends in a photo you upload, it should also be able to recognize whether or not your posts follow their community standards.
Of course, digital India is not just about facebook but it truly is a time for us to ponder whether we as a nation would like to be represented as cyber bullies spreading online hatred or as a nation that has a vision of going digital and empowering the citizens with a powerful tool called the internet. Ask yourself, do you want a remote villager that logs into facebook for the first time in his life only to see hate speech and posts that divide our society?