By Asad Ali
In the 21st century, Social Media has become pivotal tool for dissemination and acquiring information. Its role has drastically increased in perception management of common masses. As per report of Smart Insight Media report, over 4.62 billion (worldwide) people are actively using different Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. The presence of biased and anti-state elements on social media platforms is creating panic and chaos within the society. These elements are working under various lobbyist in order to accomplish specific purpose. These elements are launching malicious campaigns to malign other groups, communities, organizations and states.
Social Media is playing crucial role for obtaining informal insight on different social, political, economic and strategic issues. To sensitize the users about factual position/ impacts of social media, there is a need to study different social, cultural and other entertaining aspects of the platform, which may be helpful in curtailing spread of disinfo campaign on different social media platform. The top leadership of these platform must ensure positive and factual dissemination of information on their platform as it will also help people in making their perception regarding particular issue. In 3rd world states, social media is being used an tool to malign state institutions, organization and some other targeted groups. Users of social media must also respect the social, cultural and democratic values of other states while posting any content.
There is dire need to proliferate a/m topics in both external and internal domain in order to spread awareness and actual facts, which will be helpful in changing the perception of common masses. In this regard, seminars, webinars conferences may also be conducted in next 4 to 8 weeks to sensitize our academia, media fraternity and common masse regarding positive aspects of the country and role of state institutions.
Social Media platforms are being used to spread propaganda and disinformation against particular group, community and state. This trend is having negative impacts politically, economically and strategically in bilateral ties of different states as well as domestic population. To avoid this disinformation and malicious campaign against any particular group, community and state, the presence of legal offices of Social Media in different countries of the world is being felt. In this regard, it is suggested that concerned Ministries must be asked to approach their counterparts for establishment of Social Media offices in their respective countries to stop anti-state and organization campaigns on Social Media.
Social Media is major tool of communication and perceptions building. Number of Social Media users are rapidly increasing worldwide. The importance of this platform cannot be ignored and need further evaluation to get maximum utilization of it. Both developed and developing countries are using this platform in order to accomplish their national interests. In Pakistan, recent trends against state institutions in the aftermath of Imran Khan’s ouster highlighted significance of Social Media and its role in perception management.
Likewise, people of all walk of life are proactively using this platform also. They’re highlighting different economic, political, cultural and educational aspects of the society, which are pivotal for perception management and policymaking as well. Therefore, the efficacy of the platform must be ensured and protected. One shouldn’t hijack the intellectual of other creative minds while being on this platform. The management of social media platform must also have to work on this as well.
The presence of non-state actors on social media platforms is also a targeted attempt by some people, groups and states to create panic and chaos within different societies. They are utilizing this platform to accomplish personal interests of some states and people as well, which need to be stopped. Likewise, some groups and states, are also trying to accomplish their vested interests through social media by defaming Muslim states in the garb of blasphemy, Islamophobia and related topics. It is sad to see that platform such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are being used by some hostile elements to spread anarchy and disinfo within different ethnic groups. The must be stopped now and the onus is on the top management of these platform. This platform must not be a tool of policy for external/ domestic maneuvers of info ops.
The writer is Islamabad based expert of strategic affairs.