Advantages and misuse of Social Media during disasters and crisis

Social media has been a powerful weapon for many people in various situations. Businesses now use social media for their marketing and prefer that over traditional marketing. The power of social media is so enormous and a lot of things just go viral if there is anything interesting.

There are many riots and protests that took place in India. In the earlier days, news channels and traditional media were the only sources to deliver news to people and inform them about the decisions political parties take. Even now, they do, but there is more demand for social media. Many news agencies and leaders make use of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to announce for holiday declarations during a crisis or to inform about some emergency.

Not only do news agencies and leaders do it, the public at large use social media for their personal use but also make complete use of it during riots and protests. Online networking is another wonder worldwide and is digging in for the long haul. Web-based social networking has empowered individuals to be associated progressively and is bringing out new aspects of individuals intrigue, engagement, and conduct.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of the public using social media during riots and protests. We will go through them with keeping in mind some recent happenings and events.

Let it may anything, the information is spread by people suddenly and keeps them connected with more than ever. Be that as it may, how they respond from that point, makes online networking a twofold edged sword.

How social media plays a role during riots and protests

There was an incident that happened 2 years back in Noida where a small boy was doing something with a weighing scale in order to earn money. Consequently, he was also studying and a passing commuter who caught his eye clicked him. This picture was then uploaded to Facebook and in hours, it got viral. Many other social media users approached to help. The former U.P Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav also seen this picture and promised to help the boy in terms of providing him with help in education.

Well, the above example explains a lot and talks about the positive impact that social media has but there are many cases where social media has not been on the positive side.

In the year 2012, there came to sight the negative effects social media can have. The use of earthquake victim’s pictures was made viral in order to show that they were all the Muslim victims of civil riots in Burma and Assam. This was done to incite additionally revolts by personal stakes and it brought a response. After this, social media platforms were filled with images and post that were loaded with loathing and vindicate messages against the Hindu migrants that spread frenzy and soon there was a mass departure of individuals from the North East, who were compelled to return back to Assam and other Northeastern states.

This incident clearly states how social media was used negatively and helped in feeding mass craziness in a brief span.

When there are riots and protests happening in the city, social media only helps in triggering the mind of people and spread panic. When the public is panicked, they tend to share their thoughts on social media that makes other people also panic.

There were riots that happened in Vadodara in the year 2014 where a boy had altered the image of a Hindu goddess superimposed on a picture of the Kaba after which it became a web sensation and activated savagery. These riots were going on for one week and after that, a precautionary measure of suspending the internet facilities was taken so that people do not spread more rumors and spark tension.

One more incident where a mob went on a frenzy in the town over transformed photos of the late Shiv Sena boss Bal Thackeray, Chhatrapati Shivaji and other Hindu divine beings which were shared on Facebook and WhatsApp. This further went on to beat a boy to death by a mob who was nowhere related to circulating the pictures. The victim’s name was Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh.

Like these, there are many such cases where social media has been used to trigger riots, protests, and murders.

One of the recent Bhima-Koregaon protests that took place in Mumbai also had social media in the role. Many of them posted wrong information about the riots on Twitter and Facebook that further created panic. The positive side of this was that social media was used to inform the public where there is a lot of traffic and where the roads are blocked because of the protests.

This is how social media has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to riots and protests that happen all over India. Some use it to create awareness while some use it to spread panic and anger. One must realize that spreading panic and negativity will only bring bad in the country and will destroy the peace that the country has. This also can have fatal consequences and can take lives of many.

Hence one must always think before they go ahead and post anything on social media.


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