Proper Policies to Bring Discipline in Social Media

Majhar Mannan

9 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

In this age of globalisation, we cannot imagine a day without technology, and social media has become one of the most popular digital platforms of the present age. Due to this social media, all the people of the world can exchange information with each other and easily maintain comfortable communication. Notable social media are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin, WhatsApp, Imo, Viber, WeChat, Pinterest, Tumbler, Snapchat, Quora, Messenger, Google, Vimeo, Reddit etc. These social media platforms provide an opportunity to express one's own views and the opinions of others. The whole world today is in the hands of every human being through these platforms.  Using these social media platforms, young people, especially students, are benefiting immensely and getting opportunities for academic research.

These sites are very useful for job seekers, and many people are using these sites to earn money and create their own jobs. These social media platforms are creating a worldwide sense of universal brotherhood and human values, as well as a great friendship. Online classes are being conducted using these digital platforms during the coronavirus epidemic, and students are benefiting greatly. This digital platform has also made an outstanding contribution to the expansion of business and has created special mindset of entrepreneurship among people all over the world.  From all these digital platforms people around the world are getting some very good gifts, but at the same time a lot of crime is being committed on all these platforms. There are many fake users in these social platforms who are spreading pornography and pornographic videos that endanger young people and increase social crime. Also, various types of propaganda, militancy, sectarianism, extremism and bigotry are spreading through these digital platforms. Criminals are easily using these social media to commit all kinds of misdeeds such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, child trafficking, sexual harassment, pornography, etc.

According to a survey, 70% of Internet users worldwide are connected to social media and this rate is even higher among young people and that is about 90 per cent. In Bangladesh, 80 per cent of those who use the internet have a Facebook account. Through all these uncontrolled social platforms, porn sites are easily exposed to the youth, as a result of which the youth are misguided and becoming drug addicts and committing various misdeeds in the society. Crimes, including cybercrime, are spreading through these social platforms and seem to have gone out of control due to lack of control and law. Experts believe that registration and specific policies are needed to control all these evils on social media. If these platforms continue to be chaotic and indiscriminately, crime will increase, so they need to be brought under control and registration. Using various social media apps, criminals are organising various types of crimes in Bangladesh such as gambling, pornography, human trafficking, child trafficking, militancy and other crimes. Juvenile delinquency is on the rise in Bangladesh and juvenile gangs are being created which is having a negative impact on the society and the state. Organised gangs are very active in social media and are getting involved in various online crimes, including drug trafficking, women trafficking and money laundering. Experts believe that there is no alternative to registration to prevent crime from spreading in the form of epidemics through social media. Criminal accounts have been shut down at various times to stop these crimes on social media, but to no avail. They have resorted to new tactics to carry out the crime. So if the user is registered with all kinds of information, including national identity card numbers and birth certificate number, the crime trend of these social media will come under control and it will be possible to identify the culprits very easily.

Experts say that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and various social media are being used for crimes such as spreading anti-national propaganda, rumours and sexual harassment. Many countries around the world have already started making laws and policies to control the crimes spreading through social media. The misuse of social media in Bangladesh is increasing day by day due to lack of specific laws and specific policies and registration. So the government must bring it under the policy and registration. Besides, a lot of money is being smuggled abroad in the name of boosting advertisements using hundi and international credit cards. These digital platforms are out of reach of government agencies due to lack of local offices and it is not possible to collect any kind of tax and other revenue from them under the existing law. As a result, the local media is being harmed and the government is losing huge revenue. Therefore, the government wants to bring discipline in all these digital platforms and experts have advised the government to bring these social media under registration.

Technology experts say that if any medium is used to defame someone, the related social media must be held responsible. In this case, legal protection has to be given to the affected person or organisation. Experts say that in order to open an account on all these social media, one must have a national identity card, birth registration, passport number, photo and mobile number. If an account is opened with all the specific information, there will be no chance of any untoward incident and if it happens, there will be an opportunity to take legal action very easily. Experts also said that there is no alternative to registration to stop fake ID in all these online platforms. Internet technologies, including Facebook, are often accused of not paying taxes properly in the countries where they do business. Bangladesh is going to make strict laws for digital platforms like Singapore, Australia, France, Turkey, Canada and Russia. Recently, the Indian government has taken a strong stand against WhatsApp's new privacy policy. China has controlled Facebook and Google to curb data smuggling and disseminate domestic media. In 2019, France became the first country in Europe to pass a law imposing a digital service tax on the internet, including Facebook. Meanwhile, Australia and Canada have forced Facebook to pay the price of news content. Russia has approved a new law requiring social media to open an office in Russia. The country has recently filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging violations of the Personal Information Act. However, although there are some guidelines in the Digital Security Act of Bangladesh to take action against all the propaganda that is spread on social media, it is not enough. It is learned that efforts are being made to enact new laws to allow YouTube and Facebook to set up their server data centres in Bangladesh. It is learned that the work of drafting the Data Protection Act is also underway. Google and Amazon have been given VAT registration on 25 and 27 May. The company will pay 15% VAT from now and onward on the revenue received from Bangladesh and submit business transaction accounts at the end of the year.

However, if the Bangladesh government can bring all these digital platforms under registration, digital security will increase a lot. Good deeds will be encouraged and bad deeds will be abandoned. The expectation of all of us is that all these digital platforms should be used for the welfare or service of the people and not for the harm of the people.

 

The writer is an Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College, Dhaka

 


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