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Understanding The Debate On Government Regulation And Scrutiny Over Social Media

Over the years, the use of social media apps has been extensive, so much so that the governments of different countries have imposed different rules and regulations on the scrutiny of the apps. This is done in view of the fact that the use of social media will be more in the future.

With the passing years, the number of social media channels is rising. You may recollect that it started with Facebook and a few others, and now there is a platform like:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Bigo Live
  • TikTok and lots more.

With an increase in the number of social media channels comes an increase in risks, primarily in terms of using sexually explicit, harmful, and other abusive content. Thus, there is an immediate need for stricter regulatory scrutiny that will minimize uploading objectionable content on these social media platforms.

Experts think that in the future, there will be even more regulations imposed by different governments to control the fast-growing internet markets. However, this fact raises a debate on different matters, such as:

  • The contours
  • Data protection
  • Amendments
  • Intermediary guidelines
  • Different technology platforms and more.

You must know more about these laws and regulations to be more knowledgeable about the onus on the usage of social media by companies, mainly so that it does not affect your Instagram views and social media marketing efforts.

Greater scrutiny and checks

In 2020, social media is poised for more significant checks and scrutiny, and the platforms will have the right to withdraw illegal and objectionable content, sometimes even without any prior notice. This is to redress their image as carriers of fake news and hate messages.

  • Some social media giants have taken these regulatory reforms sportingly while others are worried about the prospects and impacts of these stricter government regulations on social media.
  • Some of these platforms say that these regulations will ensure greater accountability, and they have already started to appease their users with better control over the data trail and the digital profile.

Without such regulations before, platforms did not put any effort into ensuring the quality of the content and were subject to criticisms over data failure and breaches. For example:

  • Facebook faced regulatory scare earlier this year due to a global scandal of a data leak that affected nearly 87 million users and
  • Cambridge Analytica, a British data analytics and political consulting firm, was accused of illegally collecting personal data of millions of Facebook users for political campaigns and to impact polls in some countries.

Due to these regulatory measures, Facebook brought transparency in their practice, Twitter strengthened their efforts to crack down and remove automated and fake accounts, and WhatsApp limited the number of people a message to be forwarded to five.

Opinion of Facebook

Experts, like the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, have pitched for such regulation of harmful and objectionable content on its platform. It has set a legal platform and has urged its users to furnish their location and other contact details, especially when they want to advertise through this platform. This will:

  • Create trust
  • Allow better governance and
  • Benefit everyone in the long term.

This legal framework, he says, will encourage the post meaningful content that will increase both the open and democratic values of the platform as well as provide the authority to control the platform.

However, he suggested that there is no harm in having such regulatory scrutiny on social content by the government, but the effectiveness and feasibility of it will largely depend on the type of framework used for it.

Regulation of harmful content

The increased regulatory scrutiny of social content has affected the direction in which different social media platforms, including Facebook, are moving. The social platforms are now devoting their attention towards:

  • Scandals of other social platforms
  • Customer data breaches
  • Violent, offensive and racist comments
  • Potentially influencing of public polls and opinions and
  • Publishing illegal or fake content.

Focusing on the key issues. Social media platforms, small and big, now control a large number of users in these public spaces. Considering and retaining freedom of expression and RTI, these privately owned platforms are doing the best they can to regulate, minimize, and even eliminate publishing of harmful and objectionable content across the social media landscape.

The importance of such regulation

Most of the social media giants, including Facebook, are in favor of these rules, regulations, and guidelines set by the government. They have welcomed this move saying that it was essential today when social media reigns supreme and controls almost every aspect of life and business.

According to such regulations will:

  • It will help the social media platforms to serve their users in a much better way and
  • Platforms will now make the best use of all of the available technologies.

Most importantly, there will be fewer misinformation, fake news, or incidents that may result in violence that is driven by social media in any specific country.

These regulations will strictly deal with the social channels that violate these rules since there will be no anonymity of the social media platforms anymore. It will be much easier for the powers that be to trace messages and posts of any particular person that is harmful or objectionable.

In short, such regulations imposed by the government will add to the national security, a prime concern for every government of the world.

The final thought

To conclude, it can be said that with such regulations imposed on social media platforms, it will be easier to ensure legitimate control and ascendancy of speech on the internet. It will reduce the chances of online speech controversies and safeguard political culture.

Yes, there can be a threat to free speech as well as on the independence of the private sector, but these companies are well equipped with sophisticated technologies to deal with such issues most effectively.

Therefore, more than the dangers anticipated, the regulatory scrutiny on social content by the government will ensure better control and a safe environment, both now as well as in the future.

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