Social Media and User Safety

The Dialogue, a New Delhi based independent think-tank, held a roundtable discussion on ‘User Safety on Social Media Platforms’ today.  The debate centered on identification of various threats posed by social media intermediaries to their users and ways to increase user safety. The discussion featured various different stakeholders giving the perspective of the industry as well as of the government in order to get a well rounded debate in place.

With social media gaining more traction, people have begun to consume information faster than ever before. The reason the internet is so successful is because it allows people access to all sorts of information at the tips of their fingers. Technological evolution has made it necessary to regulate such content. However, the lack of responsibility among users and content creators alike has led to inaccurate or even false information being widespread. The creation of a narrative that is far from the truth poses several risks, especially when there is a direct effect on a persons’ psyche.

The discussion made it very clear that the lack of awareness among users and intermediaries is one of the biggest challenges faced in this regard. However, while there is a difference between awareness and intervention, social media platforms play a significant role in both aspects. On the one hand, the need to regulate and ensure user safety was unanimously agreed upon, and on the other, the question of the degree of control exercised over social media platforms was raised. Additionally, it is important to determine the role that intermediaries will play; either individually or in collaboration with the government. The discussion also pointed out that while social media platforms’ responsibility cannot be ignored, the regulations imposed must keep in mind the practical challenges of navigating the internet..

 

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