Trolling, Hate and abuse on social media – Citizens want social media platforms to take liability, make real identities mandatory
- • 50% believe social media platforms should be held liable for trolling, abusive and hate content
- • 59% feel real identities should be made mandatory of social media platforms
16th July, 2018, New Delhi: In today’s time, social media has a big influence on the lives of people and has also become a major tool for businesses to reach their consumers. The dark side of social media involves trolling, abuse and spread of hate content and its rising exponentially so much so that it is leading to riots and lynching based on fake information.
Recently, India’s External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was heavily trolled on social media when the reports of the ministry allegedly harassing an inter-faith couple for making their passports. In another instance, a man posted a rape threat to Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi’s minor daughter through Twitter.
In the last few months, 31 people have lost their lives in various parts of the country by mobs who believed that they were child kidnappers. These mob attacks followed fake news about gang of kidnappers on the prowl, that was spread through WhatsApp.
LocalCircles conducted a detailed survey and asked people what they think about such issues on social media platforms in India and how can they be controlled. In the first question, people were asked what according to them was the most practical solution for social media platforms to minimize trolling abuse and hate content. 59% said real identity should be made mandatory for all accounts and 26% said immediate blacklisting should be done of any user account using words related to such content. 9% said it should be ensured that every post, comment by and between users is moderated while 5% were not sure.
Who should have the liability in case of trolling, hate and abusive content is disseminated on a social media platform. Around 41% said it should be users who are primary source of such content, 8% said platforms which disseminate such content, 48% said both users and the social media platforms while 3% were unsure.
When asked if the social media platforms should remove offensive, hate and rumour-based content pro-actively, a huge 89% answered in an affirmative. Meagre 8% citizens disagreed with it and 5% chose not to answer. 14,395 responses were received in this poll.
89% citizens also said that social media companies should follow a code of conduct similar to EU in India. Only 8% did not agree with it
In the next poll, when asked if platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be responsible for taking action against accounts that are engaged in trolling, abuse and harassment of others, 78% citizens agreed with it while 17% said it should not be done.
The Government recently warned WhatsApp to take urgent steps to prevent spread of abusive and irresponsible content which become viral and provokes case of violence in the country.
Citizens also made several recommendations to prevent unhealthy trolling on social media in India like algorithms being implemented to constantly moderate the user content, members being warned for hate/offensive comments leading to account suspension of repeat offenders, anything spreading against nation/nationalism to be caught and reported immediately and people should be educated that freedom of expression is important but it should not lead to rumour mongering, character assassination and meaningless speculation .
Survey Platform and Demographics
Over 58,000 responses were received from over 30,000 unique citizens located in 220 districts of India. Approximately 33% of the respondents were women while 67% were men. 48% of the participants were from Metro/Tier 1 cities, 31% from Tier 2 cities and 21% were from Tier 3 and rural locations.