Rajat Sharma

Social media platforms can play a big role in ensuring women’s safety

akb0210A Parliamentary committee on women empowerment on Wednesday sought a report from micro-blogging site Twitter on how it deals with abusive content and the procedure that is followed to remove objectionable comments from the site.

Top representatives from Twitter India made a presentation before the committee, consisting of women MPs, to apprise them of the action taken by them to tackle cases of ‘cyber-bullying’ and harassment of women. They also informed the women MPs about the latest updates in technology to ensure cyber safety and security of women.

Two central ministries, the Ministry of Women & Child Development and Ministry of Home Affairs, had been in touch with Twitter India on the issue of checking abusive content, particularly against women. The issue of child pornography was also raised in view of growing online abuses faced by children.

Concerns have been expressed in several quarters over lack of control on fake and objectionable information dished out on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. Most of the objectionable information are generally found to be fake, dangerous to national security and patently illegal.

To cite an instance, there is a stringent provision in law against disclosure of the name, address, identity and location of rape victims and their family members. After the horrible gang rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad, her name and face were flashed on social media among millions of viewers. Today I read a perturbing news report about nearly 80 lakh searches for videos relating to the gang rape victim on porn sites.

This shows to what dangerous extent there is prevalence of a sick mentality among certain sections of people who have easy access to internet. This also reflects the humongous amount of danger and risks that exist to our daughters in society. In such circumstances, more cooperation is required from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram, which are popular and mostly accessed by people from different sections of society.

If the government and society get adequate cooperation from social media sites, it will herald a new beginning, because there is no gainsaying the fact that social media platforms also perform a great service, conveying the complaints and grievances of common people directly to persons in authority who matter.

There have been umpteen instances of government taking action on such complaints from common people that reach via social media. Such an atmosphere creates social awareness and it would be a great service to society, if the concerns of women’s safety too are addressed by social media service providers in the national interest.

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