Social media is one of the biggest platforms where everyone shares there viewpoints, interact with others, hold discussions, and much more. Companies utilize these means for advertisement purposes, while it also provides a great source of income for entrepreneurs and digital marketers. But, did you noticed the changes happening on social media since the beginning of the pandemic.
Before we start with the topic, I want to clarify one thing – “Everyone has there viewpoints of analyzing things, so does I have. I’m not pointing out every user when talking about the dark side of social media platforms. So, don’t take it personally. I only want to address the negativity that’s intoxicating social media environment and what we should do to keep it away.”
Social Media & Internet Users Stats of India
- Till January 2020, there were around 687.6 million Internet users and 400.0 million Social Media users in India.
- Between April 2019 and January 2020, 128 million new users joined the internet, and 130 million users joined social media channels.
- Internet penetration was at 50%, and Social Media penetration was at 29% in January 2020.
- 27% of users are in direct reach with social media channels.
- In the next three years, 22% of users will increase on social media.
(Source – Digital 2020: India)
Let’s look into some issues that are affecting human behavior on social media platforms:
Dignity is one of the most necessary factors of the human spirit. It means being valued and respected and given the same respect and value to others. If we treat others with dignity, the same thing will happen to us. In 2020 alone, there are plenty of examples that show when people lose their minds and went aggressive mode.
Example-1: Twitter and Facebook keep censoring President Trump as a measure to prepare for the election. Recently, Trump’s twits are creating havoc on social media. Whether it’s about Black lives Matter controversy, sharing views on COVID-19 pandemic, etc., his twits and posts clearly show the aggressiveness. It, in turn, creates anger among people, and few of us break the boundaries of modesty and start talking in in-human ways.
Example-2: In the gaming community also, people have been seen eve-teasing and posting nasty comments on Female Streamers accounts. It has increased the cyberbullying rare against females up to 10 fold. And that too when the whole world was in lockdown. In some cases, Twitch streamers were harassing their viewers for not subbing to their channels.
There are plenty of examples like these. Now the question is, ‘why people losing their minds and breaking the dignity of social media? Why are people becoming aggressive and ill-mannered when commenting on others?’
These are the questions we should find answers. We need to analyze ‘how social media is changing our behavior Psychologically and Socially?‘
Comparing Ourselves With Others
One of the biggest problems on social media is, we tend to compare ourselves with others. This tendency transforms into jealousy, which then converts into aggression. It also affects our self-esteem value. We start to lose our value and confidence in our own eyes. When we start to lose self-esteem, we become frustrated.
Secondly, social media has made us impatient. We desire instant results for everything, no matter the cost. For example, TikTok. Earlier, we use to watch One or One-and-half hour-long comedy shows with our family. But now, we want entertainment within 15 or 60 seconds. People use to watch motivational, knowledge-sharing shows that were at least an hour-long, but now, we want motivation within seconds. Believe it or not, but TikTok and its similar Apps has made most of the social media users impatient, worthless, aggressive, etc..
If we don’t get instant results, we become impatient that give birth to aggression, which sometimes makes us do tasks that we didn’t mean.
Rise Of Intolerance In The Society
Social media is the expression for the rising intolerance in society. One of the reasons for people forgetting modesty and dignity on social media is because we are complicating small things and issues into much bigger problems. We are being operated by our prejudices. People affected by their prejudices become so uncalled for that sometimes we can’t believe that it’s the same person we have known for years. We can’t believe the worlds he or she is saying on social media, especially when it’s about political issues or issues related to country, religion, and communities.
When we express our viewpoints on such matters, it automatically turns into a challenge for the next person. He or she thinks that if they fail to describe their thinking now, it will affect his/her pride. ‘Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong,’ this issue becomes so complicated that people unfriend each other from social media. It is the result of increasing intolerance in society, which is expressing over social media.
As an example, we have seen celebrities arguing on social media, which sometimes leads to controversies that affect their image. Recently, some famous Indian Celebrities quit their social media accounts after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. The quote says, ‘No Matter What We Post, We Always Invite Negativity. People slammed these celebrities on social media by commenting that they were the reasons for his death, etc.. It clearly showed how bad a place social media could be, even for celebrities.”
In the quarantine period, many celebs were uploading posts on social media while addressing their million dollars homes as a jail as they were getting bored. It might be jail for them, but for others, it was a dream. It gave rise to the anger and intolerance on social media, and these celebs had to face quite a criticism.
Three Main Causes of these Problems
- Most of the users who post ugly or nasty comments on social media are using fake profiles. Because they are using fake profiles, they don’t have any fear of losing their respect and dignity in front of friends and family members.
- One of the reasons for posting sensitive content and trash-talking on social media is because there’s no ‘Eye Contact‘ involved. When we talk face-to-face, there’s always a feeling that keeps us in line. But over social media, there’s no such thing. That’s why people break the boundaries of Modesty and Dignity.
- Most people who trash-talk against women on social media think, ‘Men’s are Superior to Women.’ And trust me, we can’t change these people’s thinking. It’s like a worm that has infected their brains for years, which we can’t cure that easily. Some men think that because they are male, they can be aggressive on social media. But when women behave like that, those men start to trash-talk against her.
What are the Possible Solutions?
Now the question is how to prevent these things. Surely such things have a direct impact on society, especially on teenagers who use social media. They are easy to manipulate. Few solutions that government and social media platforms can implement are:
- Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. should strict there profile verification policies. An algorithm that can identify between genuine and fake profile must be developed. It will help in decreasing the users from making fake profiles.
- Keywords that go against community guidelines should be restricted by default. Right now, users have to ban such keywords by themselves in the settings.
- There’s a need to increase the number of moderators to monitor social media platforms. If someone if found trash-talking, creating violence in the name of religion, gender, caste, etc., his or her account should be banned temporarily. An inquiry should be launched afterward to analyze the matter. If the user is found guilty, then appropriate action must be taken according to law.
- We, as a human, must restrict ourselves from getting aggressive if someone tries to trigger you. Remember, your small mistake can harm you more than you can imagine. Also, don’t judge other’s opinions on social media without knowing the complete facts. Your single comment can hurt someone’s feelings real bad, and you don’t know what they might do.
There’s also a matter of human rights and policies. We need to make sure that the actions do not violate the Right of speech, Right to express, or whatever other rights might be. Government and Social Media agencies should work together to address these issues. Also, as people of this world, we need to take control of our actions and speech when using social media. The first step to change society starts by changing ourselves first.