Speaking in the context of the Rafael deal the French Ambassador has reportedly made a comment “Look at Facts…not the Tweets”. This was as much an advise to the traditional media which is sensationalizing the social media posts of Congress whose political ambitions has made the Tweets as a tool of spreading disinformation. The obliging media picks up anything and everything thrown at them and convert it into a political narrative.
It could be Rafael or RBI Board meeting, the CBI internal politics or even the quality of currency notes. Media is capable of converting it into an anti Modi narrative and keep shouting.
In this unfortunate situation, the innovative technical tools such as Twitter or Whats App have become more tools of creating false narratives and defaming people. The politicians should be credited with the successful corruption of an innocent tool created by the Internet to give “Voice to the Ordinary people”.
Today, even the owners of these business are carried away by the increased use that these false posts create and think they are generating more revenue like the TV media that goes after TRP at any cost. But in the long run this trend is eroding the credibility of the system and as soon as the election fever is over, the backlash will hurt these services to the extent that in due course they will be extinct.
In the interest of survival of these social media vehicles, it is necessary that they donot mis-interpret “Free Speech” as “Freedom to spreading falsehood”. If they do, they will be digging their own grave.
It is therefore time for the society to think and implement such measures that would enhance the “Trust” in these social media usage.
Though it looks ridiculous to many, there is a valid argument for the creation of “KYC based identified accounts in Twitter and WhatsApp and an Ethical declaration to be open to being banished for deliberate false postings”.
Twitter has the system of “Verified” accounts but it is not being implemented properly. Twitter’s approvals are biased and genuine accounts are often denied the “Verified Tag” without any reason. There is a need for introducing a new system of “Identified Social Media Postings”. The Face Book and WhatsApp should join this consortium.
Probably these business entities will not see the value of such “Identified Accounts”. I therefore call for a new Start Up business in India which runs an “Identity Service” to issue “Verified Tokens” to users of Social media so that there is more responsibility for social media users.
Of course this is not a solution for the Political parties posting false narratives for political gain but still, it would go a long way in establishing a “Responsible use of technology”.