Putting social media into perspective

The impact of social media in other nations

People's rising access to the Internet worldwide facilitated the use of social media. This has a significant impact on people's lives around the globe.

India

In India, social media is often used to spread hate speech and fake news, especially through WhatsApp, an instant messaging service owned by Facebook. Here, messages about natural disasters, conspiracy theories, and health hazards are often circulated, occasionally causing mass hysteria among parts of the population.

These stories often lead to tensions between castes and religions, instigating discrimination and propagating hate speech. For example, in 2017, a video depicting two people being decapitated was shared on Facebook, with a caption claiming it depicted Indian soldiers being killed in Pakistan. However, the footage was in fact from a gang war in Brazil. In another instance, several fake images were shared on Twitter and captioned as presenting the violent attacks of Muslim Rohingya people against Hindus. In both cases, the posts were used to spread radical nationalist beliefs that called for the exclusion and persecution of Muslims in India.

There have also been examples of fake news that have led to the deaths of several...

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