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Social Media amid The Virus

We are on the battlefield and the enemy is continuously jabbing us with its weapon. For the first time, we are asked to stay away from a battle because the power of this enemy increases when we confront it.

You must be knowing what I am discussing about, Yes COVID19 a virus with its evil power is a disaster to the whole world. This uncontrollable virus has spread massively taking away thousands of lives. Not only in my nation but worldwide people are asked to stay at their homes and lead a hygienic life, thus various steps are taken to curb this pandemic. We are staying at our homes and investing a lot of time in various activities.

However, most of our time is spend on SOCIAL MEDIA. Discussing my nation, there are 376.1 million social media users. After the Government took a big step of lock-down due to an escalating spread of the virus there is an increase in the number of users. The problem is not in the use of social networks but is in the misuse of it.

The spread of fake news, communal disharmony, fraud, illegal money transfers, and increased bigotry is creating hue and cry among the masses.

The Ministry of Home Affairs stated that there is an increase of 86% cybercrimes in 4 weeks after the spread of the news of the Coronavirus in the nation. The illicit money transactions through the fake flagship of PM Cares Fund" has made several people bankrupt, even NRIs have fallen prey to it. The Indian Government tried to manage the situation by writing to the social media companies to control the spread of misinformation but no change could be seen.

Hence, the government finding no other way to cope with the adversity, took it to another level and hereby said that any person who misuses the social media will be liable under Sections 505, 154 and 295A of The Indian Penal Code. In Maharashtra itself, 115 cases of fake news have been lodged since the lock-down and 2 being non-cognizable offenses (The Economic Times). The unscientific and impractical methods to control the virus is overflowing in large number, which is creating panic and fear in people.

The flame of communal disharmony is spreading all over the country and all due to this fake and baseless news. There is a rise in intolerance among individuals and they lash each other blatantly by hook and crook on such platforms. They forget (mostly unaware) that Article 19(1)(a) of The Indian Constitution is not absolute.

We have restrictions on our freedom of speech and expression. And when they are found guilty, they blame the administration that we are helpless and nobody listens to us… but there is a famous legal maxim ignorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminemexcusat (ignorance of the law excuses not and ignorance of the law excuses no one respectively). Such a situation is not helping anyone in society but affecting our mental health.

Then why do such things which may cause trouble?

Our condition is such that we are confined in the four walls of our house surrounded by a tensed ambiance and above all this continuous bombardment of forged news on our brains, leading us to depression. Today our main aim and focus should be that how can we effectively handle this grave situation which every individual is facing presently. We need unity but through social distancing and that unity can only be successful through proper use of social media.

Let us not spoil the basic characteristic of social media that is the enhanced outreach to the public at large and healthy interactions among individuals.

Corona will be cured one day but the disorder caused due to erroneous use of the social network will not be cured easily.

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