DoT explores options to block Social Media Apps; is that an ideal approach?

Just when the country was getting to taste the power of social media, reports of government blocking social media platforms started making rounds. Social media has gained massive traction in the past decade and has become a preferred way of connecting to our friends and family.

Recent reports have stated that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is exploring options to block the popular social media portals including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Telegram. DoT’s intention behind this step is to curb fake news and child pornography for which they have asked for suggestions from telecommunication companies and internet service providers on ways to go about it.

Another major concern of DoT is that fake news may be used to influence the general elections of 2019. DoT is reportedly planning to hold talks with these social media giants on these issues and how fake news has disturbed the people in the past.

The rage of Social Media

While the ministry’s concerns are completely valid, banning all these apps might not be the ideal approach.

There was a time when people from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities struggled to voice their opinions. Many din’t even know they their opinion actually mattered. Many others discovered friends, with similar interests on social media, they din’t even know existed. Several unique talents, not just from small towns but from major metros, have been discovered on social media. Social media has became an integral part of our everyday lives. For many people, these applications are their sole means of worldly exposure. For many others, social media is their daily dose of entertainment.

Social media has become a very important aspect of people’s life especially the upcoming generation. These platforms that the government is targeting, have given the common man a voice and presented the world with new discovered talents. Social Media is a very powerful tool for almost anything if used correctly.

There are numerous advantages of social media and how it can be used for one’s own benefit.

  • Building your Brand/Business

Millions of people visit the social media platforms every day, which can be used as a major advantage to triple your business. Voicing opinions have never been easier. Creating a page/account/profile for your brand gives people all over the world an option to differentiate your brand from the others. Social Media marketing as taken India by storm and helped budding entrepreneurs sell their product/service the easy way.

  • Showcasing your talent

We all know plenty “YouTubers” and “Influencers” who have started their key business through the social media platforms. Creating videos and pouring your thoughts out to the world has grabbed attention in a way that never happened before. Someone who was unknown to anyone now has millions of followers on these platforms and have become famous because of their talents. The most “happy” factor of this is how people from small, towns or villages have been able to voice their opinions and showcase their talents.

  • Easy interaction and approach

Social media has given each individual his or her own voice, and that too a powerful one. This is the time when if anybody had any particular concern, they can reach out to major personalities through these platforms. Once the voice is out, many people read it or watch it and the message is gradually delivered to the required person. Complaints are now resolved in much faster and better manner than before.

DoT approach – Not commendable

Fake News has been a major concern for a very long time now. The Government’s concern is completely valid and something certainly needs to be done in order to curb it. Banning or blocking these platforms, which is also a major source of income for some, is not the way to go about it.

Preventive measures must be taken for fake ‘posts and tweets’ and a sensible way must be thought of to get rid of the same. Fake News needs to be uprooted. Tabs must be kept on accounts spreading this news. Probably banning these accounts, and not social media entirely, will help a little. But more concrete steps are required to check the spread of baseless news.

Social Media mustn’t be banned, but fake news must be. 

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