How social media acts as a threat to the internal security of India? Suggest ways which can help government to check anti-India activities on social media.

India is witnessing rapid penetration of internet and also social media. But lack of digital literacy together with secure cyberspace has not only jeopardized Individual privacy but also internal security of the country.
Social media as a threat to national security
Terrorist Organisations
With increasing vigilance terrorist organisations are using social media as a tool to spread their propaganda and even recruiting young minds for their organisations. ISIS is actively using social media like YouTube, Facebook to expand its footprint in India.
Propagating fundamentalism
Social media due to its increasing penetration has become a tool for propagating fundamentalism. The extremists and fundamentalist groups are using social media as a tool for propagating communal violence and spreading unrest in the society.
Fake news
The social media enable each user to be a news broadcaster. As a result the vested interests are using social media to spread fake news. This fake news can cause threat to peace and stability of the society.
Post truth
Social media has reduced the platforms for mutual discussions and is more of one way communication. As a result the post truth is gaining active foothold as it appeals more to the emotions rather than facts and rationality. As a result threats like communalism and fundamentalism are rapidly penetrating in the society.
External agents
Internet and social media are not confined by the physical barriers of the country. This has led to external agents interfering in domestic affairs of the country. This can trigger instability in the region.
Ways through which government can address the challenge of social media
Digital Education
The lack of digital literacy has led to people falling prey to social media manipulations and agenda of vested interests. Spreading of digital education can effectively prepare people to be aware of intricacies of social media and avoid falling prey to agenda of vested interests.
Strengthening cyber intelligence
Cybersecurity ambit needs to be expanded to involve cyber intelligence. Utilisng technologies like artificial intelligence and big data analytics government can counter internal security threats emanating from social media.
Accountability on social media platforms
Social media platforms are benefitting from user traffic. They must be bestowed with responsibility for threats emanating from their platforms. This will nudge them from developing internal mechanisms to counter the threats.
Smart policing
Policing systems need to update so that they can cater to the new age realities. Police need to be techsavy so that they are aware of the threats emanating from the social media platforms.
Addressing the threats emanating from social media is vital for maintaining peace and stability in the society. But government must not overdo the things. Rather than being regulator the government must act as facilitator so the social media platforms develop internal mechanisms to counter the threats.

Question for UPSC Mains:
How social media acts as a threat to the internal security of India? Suggest ways which can help government to check anti-India activities on social media. {250 words, 15 Marks}

Published: May 3, 2018 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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