We’ve seen it in the news, streams on facebook walls and discussion over the watercooler. It is quite a debate on censoring Social Media. With ruling politicians in India (Kapil Sibal) making noise on it, international reactions from Ban Ki Moon (current Secretary-General of the United Nations) and Hillary Clinton voicing opinions on it. It is interesting to note that World’s largest democracy is engaging in battles over the future of how information can be monitored and circulated online. This was the hot topic at the 84th Social Media Breakfast in New Delhi. Our aim was to stir up a discussion, and look at the current evolution of Social Media as a platform to communicate.
The Meetup turned out as expected, a divided house on the issue of Social Censorship in India, though towards the end we agreed to have a consensus on having a user poll to determine the winner. Social Media unlike the traditional media channels is wildly democratic, everyone has a voice and the source of stories get lost when it receives the viral status. You cannot ban people from expressing or censor if they have something to say.
With great power comes great responsibility
Was Spiderman right in saying this? Social Media is giving powerful tools to the people to communicate, to voice their opinions, share their ideas and biases at the same time. Its a wildly democratic new kind of online society building up, which can topple governments, bring big brands to task, can cause riots and can spread the viral love. On one hand, someone morphs pictures of sacred religious figures in one part of the world, and riots break out on the other side of the globe. On other hand, funny videos bring everyone together in one great viral glue. The world has never seen sharing information at this speed, evident from the fact that governments are figuring ways out to control this beast. China on one side are clear about their censorship policies, companies not complying with them are shown the door (Google). Countries like India are still figuring out what to do with this monster, which looks like the tip of an iceberg.
So we reached a consensus
With the discussion divided on the issue of censoring or monitoring social media, we did agree that the framework to prevent abuse on Social Media must evolve organically. If some users can abuse the medium, others can clean it. It was decided to have a user poll by way of this post, both views are expressed below, What do you think?