Role of Social Media in Protests
The year 2019 has seen agitations flare up across the world, which involved people taking to the streets. There have been cases of showdown between the people of Hong Kong and the Chinese regime. The Netherlands saw thousands of farmers protesting, resulting on closure of the national highways, whereas in Paris the yellow vest protests rocked the country.
Recently, India has witnessed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act with a large section of the society turning against the act. One of the reasons for the spike in protests is the spread of misinformation via social media. This media is omnipresent which results in amplification of the protest and helps spread fresh energy. The petitions of the internet age are click ready for gathering thousands of agreements on a particular topic. Trolls, foreign actors, automated bots pretending to citizens can generate millions of comments with aim to influence public opinion one way or the other.
The Digital world has opened up an unimaginable world of connectivity but it has also undermined the foundations of a government which is built by people, for the people. In a bid to combat false information, India now seeks to regulate social media, thus joining the list of nations who look to combat this issue. The rules will help curb threats to individuals’ rights and nation’s integrity and security. While Freedom of expression is important, the government should also encourage social media companies to update content standards and guidelines.