Monday, April 6, 2020
Home Opinions Bogey against Social Media "trolling", a conspiracy against Free Speech in virtual world?

Bogey against Social Media “trolling”, a conspiracy against Free Speech in virtual world?

Also Read

On the 19th of May, flipping channels watching reactions on assembly results, I saw a short conversation on NDTV, and it was shocking. For the last one week, I was somehow trying to live with it, ignore it, digest it or perhaps decide a strategy on how to ‘un-see’ this four-minute clip.

Co-Founder and Executive Co-Chairperson of the tainted NDTV, Prannoy Roy asked a question to Arun Jaitley, asking whether ‘disgusting toxic trolls’ who ‘claim to have support of BJP’ could be controlled. Further, he also passed a judgement that “people in Kerala and Tamil Nadu do not like these trolls because the south is a much more peaceful part of India”. Countless wrongs in just two sentences.

A day before, I came across an opinion piece titled “I Was Threatened On Twitter With Rape Like Nirbhaya” by none other than Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi. She plugged it on Twitter with a tweet “My opinion piece: facing threats on social media from the RW trolls and Mr. Jaitley you can’t pass the buck on this”. Reading this tweet, the alarm bell rang about a possible concerted effort of the Congress ecosystem to insinuate a fake bubble.

- article continues after ad - - article resumes -

First the Co-Founder and Executive Co-Chairperson, NDTV, Prannoy Roy’s bizarre insinuation on NDTV, followed by Congress person’s blog claiming ‘violence against women’ on social media had all the ingredients to look into this narrative with a suspicion.

Mr. Roy hardly has any opinion to share on Twitter, which to his discomfort is a two-way communication medium. He started using Twitter in 2009, and was active in 2010, but never replied to anyone except a few times to Anand Mahindra, Shahrukh Khan and Karan Johar with 331 tweets in total so far. I am unaware of his mentions on twitter at that time and do not know how toxic his respondents have been. But Mr. Roy was silent on Twitter and only started using it again in late 2014 and 2015. Does that suggest he is more comfortable tweeting since the new Government took charge?

Most of the controversy surrounding censorship of trolls arises from the fact that what we see as “trolls” may not be what people like Prannoy Roy classify as trolls.

Let me here try to define a ‘troll’: There are broadly two types of trolls. One, a Twitter handle which persists on giving unsolicited opinions to get noticed, gets into abusive behaviour, threats, obscene language, harassment and targeted personal attacks.

The other type is the knowledgeable lot, who put hard facts to counter innuendos, some are focused on their subject of interest, some are very sharp and logical, some hilarious and highly sarcastic. In fact according to Prannoy Roy, some media watchdogs who keep a check on mainstream media spins and lies may also be called “trolls”. This lot scares the condescending handles with an established name in the society. We have come to know of them as “Smart Trolls”.

Example:

Trolls

If Prannoy Roy and Arun Jaitley were talking about the ‘abusers’ on the SM, I agree with them. But it is highly unfortunate that it is almost impossible to have a check on such handles. Some of these abusive trolls are launching vicious attacks on women, which many users might not be aware of. Such anti-social abusers, supporting the Right Wing or Left Wing, must not find any space on the social media. They must be mass-blocked at the very first instance.

But were Prannoy Roy and gang talking about abusers? It certainly doesn’t seem so because Prannoy Roy’s follow up reveals a lot:

Prannoy Roy: “And the worry is, to add to Shekhar, what happens when these trolls start influencing Govt. policy and behavior. That’s when it becomes a bit worrying. That’s going over the…crossing the line. And I hope, none of your ministers get intimidated or have a fear factor for being trolled. We are all trolled and nobody should have any fear of people who hide behind anonymity to make disgusting statements. But thank you very much for joining us.”

You see, the duo was certainly not talking about the abusers, but those influencers, who are impacting Government decisions. How does Prannoy Roy know that it is the abusive handles alone who influence Government policies? How can an editor label millions of average Indians on social media, who call out the Government for specific changes in polices, as “trolls”? Isn’t a Government supposed to listen to the voice of its country-men? Is this an informed comment by Prannoy Roy or is this a fall-out of reports that the Government had cancelled a deal with NDTV recently?

Social media has provided a voice to the average Indian. Yes there are those who misuse it, and action should be taken against them, but is “influencing Government policies” a form of misuse? Is calling out the blatant lies and inaccuracies of media misuse?

More than any debate on the prime time, people prefer to read specific threads on Facebook and Twitter to enlighten themselves on certain topic. People enjoy these social media tools because the ‘disinformation’ is rebutted in no time. Is using social media as a tool for laughter, (like in this case) misuse? According to Dr Roy are all the above cases examples of “trolling” which must be “controlled”?

And is this a new phenomenon? Satirists like Rahul Roushan have written about how their families had been attacked on social media. Shefali Vaidya has talked about how her daughter was threatened with murder, only because she happened to be a pro-BJP social media user. And can we forget Congress office bearer Amaresh Mishra, openly abusing and threatening all and sundry?

The irony is that the old media including the liberal opinion traders are so conservative that they do not realize that the technology has closed one-way traffic, and they are unable to reconcile and adjust to reality.

What the Congress ecosystem really wants is to create another fake narrative similar to ‘rising intolerance’ in a way to threaten people to curb dissent and scrutiny, to maintain control and get back to power. If not, then the focus would not have been only on “trolls”of a particular political leaning.

We must all unite against abusive/threatening accounts on social media belonging to all political hues, but partisan concerns and ulterior motives must be kept away from. And we all also must unite against this attempt to bring back censorship (remember section 66A of the IT act?) online.

Also read: The-Lying-Lama on Twitter: The guy who’s gets Rajdeep Sardesai’s goat, everytime

- Support OpIndia -
Support OpIndia by making a monetary contribution

Trending now

Latest News

Powerloom in Malegaon found operational amidst coronavirus lockdown, police officials who took action face administration wrath: Report

The owner of the power-looms allegedly shares a close relationship with Malegaon MLA Mufti Mohammad Ismail of the NCP

Rajasthan: Stones pelted at a Temple in Jhunjhunu district when locals tried to light diyas, one arrested

People were attacked in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan when they were lighting diyas and candles at the local temple by those from a different community.

Tamil Nadu: Over 100 people who had participated in burial of coronavirus patient put under quarantine, hospital denies negligence charges

A family member claimed, “We were neither informed that he was a suspected Coronavirus patient nor that his samples were drawn for testing.

Pune: 40 doctors quarantined after Tablighi Jamaati hides he went to Nizamuddin but tests positive when being treated for accident

The patient who tested positive for COVID-19 had hidden the history of his travel to the event organised by Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin at the time of his admission

Naamdar chor hai: Rahul Gandhi steals cartoon, crops out watermark and denies credit to a startup

Former Congress President who ran the 2019 general election campaign on 'Chowkidar Chor Hai' slogan on Sunday ended up stealing a cartoon from a startup which makes quirky cartoons on news.

Lucknow: Healthcare workers attacked, abused in Kasaibara area where several COVID-19 positive patients were found hiding in a Mosque

The health workers have complained that the mob even tried to tear their survey reports. Reports say that the attack came from a locality near the Mosque where the covid-19 patients were found.

Recently Popular

Nizamuddin Markaz of Tablighi Jamaat, hotspot of Wuhan Coronavirus, set to be demolished: Reports

Only two floors of the Nizamuddin Markaz are authorised, therefore the rest 7 floors may be demolished

Cricketer Mohammad Kaif gets attacked by Islamists for lighting lamp on 5th April in solidarity for fight against coronavirus

Islamists on social media weren't too happy with cricketer Mohammad Kaif for lighting lamp to thank healthcare workers, urged him to offer namaz instead.

30-year-old man shot dead in Prayagraj over remarks on Tablighi Jamaat’s role in spreading coronavirus, accused Md Sona nabbed

Mohammad Sona shot Lotan Nishad dead because Nishad had accused the Tablighi Jamaat members of spreading coronavirus in the country

Rajasthan Muslim woman, who was referred to another hospital, was 7th time pregnant with complicated anaemia case

Congress MLA in Rajasthan took to social media to inform that a Muslim pregnant woman in Bharatpur was refused admission because of her religion.

145 Hindus test Coronavirus positive after visiting​ Vaishno Devi: Islamist Ali Sohrab, who was once arrested, spreads fake news again

Fake news peddler Ali Sohrab was in November last year arrested by UP Police over his provocative tweets on Supreme Court judgement of Ram Janmabhoomi verdict

Subscribe to our newsletter

Each morning, get an email to keep updated with all the news, opinions and analysis published by OpIndia.

Connect with us

217,647FansLike
274,275FollowersFollow
213,000SubscribersSubscribe
Advertisements