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When The Social Media Hurts Us - Nairaland / General - Nairaland

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When The Social Media Hurts Us by adedejilegal: 12:55pm On Nov 01, 2018
The advent of the social media has been received with several impact, the liberal companion has so far served as a bridge between the past communication era and what the future holds for the world of technologies. According to smart insights, an estimated 3.2 billion people have different social media platforms they make use of. With the new media championed by several leading technology solutions providers in the information technology and the global systems mobile world, the world can only get ready for more overwhelming technological episodes.
The social media globally has been granted overwhelming reception and there is hardly any territory that is presently resisting the new media due to its advantages recorded in the past decade. The social media has been used a faster and efficient communication tool. It has also been deployed by the world’s leading brands to showcase their products, management strategies, business development approaches, corporate social responsibility and so on.
However, there seems to be loss of focus on a key factor in the social media world which has to do with the rights and obligation of social media users.
In many African countries , it appears the government and users are still basking in the euphoria of the social media. Most of them still waiting for other countries to come up with laws that will guide the use of the prevailing social media.
It has been observed that most of the social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn etc at the initial stage of their existence implemented their ground rules by way of terms and conditions. The terms and conditions were of course restricted to the sojourn of their products. As the acceptance of the social media products grew, more prevailing issues such as the issues of privacy and use of strong words began to attract some attention as millions of users were gradually abusing the objectives of the platforms by posting all sort of abusive languages to their adversaries. The fact that the social media base is faceless even makes the situation more appalling. In the writers’ thought, most of the outspoken and unruly users of the social media happen to be some gentle individuals who cannot openly confront whoever their target it physically. Since the veil of identity has shielded and seems to be protecting the users, it will be worthwhile for some sanity to be brought into the terrain. Social media users should be made to realize that liabilities can be incurred by the mere act of clicking the post or tweet buttons. This articles seeks to discuss some controversial issues in the social media that keep showing up in our daily usage.
1. Defamation- The concept of defamation can be raised the elements of such acts are evident. Some social media users have got away with the commission of acts that thought to be of serious harm to individuals or corporate bodies. Most of this perpetrators are lucky because of the facelessness regime of most of the social media platforms. Hence, the incessant occurrence of libelous acts which in most cases the victims result to self-help by defending themselves against public perception. In the United Kingdom, you may be held liable for libelous statements published online. The Defamation Act 2013 takes care of that. This is an encouraging law which is targeted towards regulating the behavior of social media users. There are similar laws.
2. Use of Parody Accounts- In this thriving era of the social media, millions of users have been deceived and misled following the dictates of faceless individuals who hide behind the screen to commit malicious acts. Twitter in its quest to satisfy the creative abilities of its users actually allows for creation of parody accounts with clearly defined conditions. Unfortunately, most parody account users fail to read the policy on parody account and make other users to believe they are the real “twitter handle owners”. Parody in the social media as interesting as it is should be further examined to assess its impact on innocent users.
3. Intellectual property- This unfortunately has become a reoccurring subject matter in the social media circle. There have been series of accusations and counter accusations about intellectual property theft raging from issues of infringement of copyrights, trademark and patent. The sophisticated nature of our electronic gadgets makes it way easy for individuals to grab intellectual works of innocent originators and use them for personal purposes. It is important to note that items and articles that have been properly filed by their originators are not meant to be used without the implied or express permission of their owners.
4. Abusive languages and strong words- There is basically no objection to the reality of use of discriminatory words and abusive language. This term in the social media space is called trolling. It has been described as a way of publishing annoying comments with the intentions of hurting another user and gaining attention. Celebrities mostly are at the receiving end of these acts. The act of trolling has had negative impact on some individuals which has led to depression and mental issues. This eventually became a wakeup call to some governments to further strengthen the justice system to protect internet users. According to the telegraph, about 1,609 people were charged to court and found guilty of internet trolling in the United Kingdom. This mechanism will to a very large extent serve as a check on the consciousness of internet users.
Every good thing is believed to have its disadvantage. So is the case of the social media. As acceptable as the innovation is, there have been unwarranted and excessive purging of emotions alongside indiscriminate cyber bullying. Abuse of the social media privileges needs to be monitored. Our recommendation shall be social media companies and government. This will ensure proper sanity in the social media. Social media companies need to pay attention to their user policies and the terms of usage. The clicking of the report button may not suffice to total commitment on the part of the social media companies. The companies should be more pronounced with boldly written caveat to users on the need to be polite in their expressions It is recommended that government parastatals in charge of the new media should be more proactive by ensuring that cases of wrong use on the social media are amicably resolved and guilty users be admonished. Governments should be encouraged to promote good behavior on the cyber space by activating campaigns against abuse on the social media. Also, it is pertinent to advice that campaigns against wrong use of social media should be launched globally. The effort of institutions such as the amnesty international in enrolling volunteers to run a social media patrol is commendable. Such projects should be brought on board so as to enlighten users on the ills of bad usage. The dispute resolution platform should be well equipped with personnel to resolve reports of abuse and intellectual property infringement. The governments should not be left out in ensuring sanity in the social media.

Adedeji Oluwatobi Adebiyi.

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