Social Networks are getting scary: Part I
unfortunately, that freedom is leading to incrimination and discrimination of the people.
Social networks were supposedly built to give people freedom to build connections, speak their minds and express their opinions to the world . It certainly did what it was built for. However, unfortunately, that freedom is leading to incrimination and discrimination of the people. Freedom has come at a massive cost.
One of my friends shared her paranoia about social networks when I asked why she was not in any social network. ” I am not active in social network. I don’t think I should share my personal things in any platform so that a company earns money because of my personal matter. I don’t even know who looks into what I post and who is watching me. There is no privacy and no control at all”. I thought she was paranoid about her privacy. What worst could happen? Apparently, unimaginably worse could happen.
Many of the things we say in social networks we say it at the heat of moment. We denounce the unfair government regulations, we criticize people, we like the photos our friends and we sometimes leave rude comments in our friends statuses. The heat of the moment pass, but it’s impact remains forever in the digital history like something inscribed in the stone. The worst part is that anybody can retrieve everything and use it against you anytime.
A friend of yours tags a photo of you which you don’t want to be tagged (I am sure this has caused many fights in relationships) , your current girlfriend scrolls down your wall and read what your ex-girlfriend had written on the wall a year ago and whines about it to you, your boss stalks you and finds out what you are doing. Day to day, so many of these ridiculous things impact our life.
If it was just about getting into some small and funny problems because of what I have shared in social network then I would not have bothered about writing this. What pisses me off is that it not just impacts the small things but these days it also could lead to serious consequences.
When you post your discontent about something in social network, do you ever think that innocuous status post of yours could get you arrested? Sadly, It could. It’s insane but true. It has happened in India last year. 2 girls were arrested for expressing their discontent over the closing Mumbai to honor the death of a leader. Recently, I read in the news that people could get fined in Vietnam for what they post in social networks. Weren't social networks about freedom to agree or disagree? Specially against the establishment. I read and hear all the time students being expelled or rusticated for posting something against their universities. By the way, is there any such rule in the universities that allows to take such action for tweeting?
Now should I be very careful not to disagree with any political parties, politicians, political views or governments? It feels like ‘Government is watching me all the time and waiting for any incriminating post to arrest me’. Even the idea that this insanity is possible enrages me.
I read about embassies digging deep into the visa applicant’s tweets to find a reason not to issue visa, universities analyzing the social network feeds of the prospective students to decide whether to accept or reject the application, prospective employers scrutinizing the tweets to judge the applicants’ nature and so on. There are so many disturbing misuses. In the past, discrimination was based on race, color of skin, nationalities. Now, there is one more variable in the list. Discrimination has started based what you express in the social networks. If social networks are about empowering people to express your opinion why should it be used to discriminate against them. I hate discrimination of any form. People must be judged for their merit not based on what one expresses in the social networks.
Recently, I have been reading that the governments want all the data of the people and they are trespassing the servers of the major social networks to get those data. God only knows what will they do with the data. I can’t imagine some spy agency putting all my data through some algorithm which could tell what kind of person I am, who I am dating, who I support, what is my political views and predict what would I do in future. It would know about me more than I do about myself. I certainly don’t want to live in the matrix. This makes me really uncomfortable.
Now, I can empathize with my friend. She is not against the social networks and it’s ability to do good for the human. But she is against it’s evil use. It’s evil use is increasing and it’s real purpose to give freedom to the people is diminishing. Here, I believe is a huge opportunity for innovation.