Should social media be regulated? (If we know what’s good for us, yes!)

I’m a great advocate of freedom of expression so it’s kind of weird that I’m the same person supporting the need to regulate social media content. 
Doreen Umutesi
Doreen Umutesi

I’m a great advocate of freedom of expression so it’s kind of weird that I’m the same person supporting the need to regulate social media content.  But since freedom comes with responsibility I will stand my ground and say that to some extent, social media does need to be controlled. 

Wikipedia defines social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content”. Fundamentally it is about conversation. In contrast with traditional media, the nature of social media is to be highly interactive.

 

Just like mainstream media is regulated in order to have quality content that upholds values and standards of a country’s culture, at this rate even social media needs to be treated the same way.  We have seen how rumours are spread via social media and they have ended up influencing negative events. And mainstream media that has its role of telling the truth as the ‘watch dog’ of society has done nothing to dispute these rumours. 

 

When I say that social media content should be controlled I’m not being sentimental but it’s something that needs to be dealt with.  

 

There was an incident that led me into thinking that maybe to some extent social media should be regulated. There was a case of a girl in her early twenties who was involved in a motor accident and was taken to hospital. Her legs were seriously damaged because a vehicle had run over them and on reaching the hospital; the doctors had to amputate her legs in order to save her. But before she even underwent surgery, someone took pictures of her painful ordeal and sent it to someone onWhatsapp. The pictures went viral. I later learned that the girl had died. This was so bad because besides the incident being tragic there was the element of invasion of privacy and this is why social media should be regulated. 

Social media has reached a point where there is need to set standards suitable for public interest.  According to a debate “Should the internet be regulated by the government?” by debate.org, one of the respondents argued that the internet should be regulated in the same way that society is, just as other venues of media and commerce are regulated.  

With the technological advancement, children and teenagers own phones which are connected to the internet with a variety of social media sites and they are exposed to pornographic content which is forwarded all the time. This puts these children and teenagers at risk. 

Somebody needs to do something! 

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