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The social media threat to national security – What, How and Why?

Social media – its reach, impact and potential in a globalized world is no longer contested. It is a fascinating phenomenon which presents both challenges and opportunities to governments and law enforcement agencies across the spectrum.

In today’s blog, we will explore A to Z of how social media is posing a challenge to National security and how we can tackle various challenges arising from it.

What is Social media?

Social Media is a communication channel that transmits information to a wide audience and is usually a one-way street

Why social media is threat to national security

  • Democracy is vulnerable to manipulated messaging, such as role of facebook has been criticised by many countries for giving platforms to various narratives which are potentially destructive to national security
  • Use of social media by law enforcement enforcement agencies to protect internal security have been hurt due to incidents of misuse of current legal provisions, causing legitimate concerns over curtailing constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and expression
  • NIA revealed in 2016 that 70% of the Indians detained for links to ISIS were from middle and upper middle class families, with half of them holding graduate degrees, social media was one of the main factors for their radicalization
  • Insurgent groups in North-east and Jammu and Kashmir are using social media to attract young recruits

How social media is helping national security?

  • The Assam Police’s launched ‘The Think Campaign’  on social media, which is a fact-checking on serious issues such as fake news and lynching
  • Similar fact-checking initiatives have been also launched by Uttar Pradesh police

How to tackle the challenges

  • The Singapore model of counter radicalisation which stresses on imparting a sense of belonging to the de-radicalized youth can be adopted
  • There is need for institutionalisation of the Framework of Guidelines on social media engagement in India
  • There is a need for a rehoming legal regime which are related to privacy concerns.

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