Social Media - A threat to National Security

Social Media – A threat to National Security

Question:-The rapid expansion of social media sites is a serious threat to the national security. Explain how does the social media act as a threat to the security of a nation. Also mention why certain nations have banned the social networking sites?

Since 2004. there has been a widespread growth of the social media. Earlier, Facebook was the top ranked social networking site with around one million users. Slowly, the network began to enlarge and today it has more than around one billion registered users.

The Pew Research Center released the Social Media Update of 2014 in January 2015 which stated that around 71% of the Internet users in the US are on Facebook. The Twitter audience rose by 27.7% from 2013 to 2014.

India has recorded the highest social networking growth of around 37.4% in 2013. With a rapid expansion of social networking sites, India is expected to be the largest Facebook population country in 2016.

Social media unites millions of people across the globe on a single platform. Apart from unity, the social media is also used by the politicians for the purpose of campaign during election. Likewise, it provides many other advantages. But there are two sides of a coin.

The social media also possess a serious threat to the national security of a nation.

- Used by terrorists – Due to the easy availability and widespread use of social media, most of the terrorists use this medium to achieve their goals. Around 90% of the organized terrorism on the Internet takes place through the social media. The terrorist groups spread their messages through the sites like You Tube, Twitter or Facebook and recruit people via them. For example, the terrorist group of ISIS spreads their messages and activities through the social media.

- International users – The other national and international users such as the political parties, NGO's, hackers pose a serious threat using the social media. For example, during the civil turmoil in the Arab Spring Uprising, the various governments were threatened through the social media.

- Communal Violence – With the help of social media, people have started attacking each other's religion on this platform. Sensitive tweets regarding religion are becoming a common phenomenon. Circulation of certain pictures through social media also creates a panic among the masses. This is a threat to the internal security of the nation as it disturbs the communal harmony.

- Threat to internal security – With the advent of social media, issues like economics, media and science are open to all. Uploading information related to these fields on the social networking sites can be a threat to the internal security.

- Revolution – Some countries in the world feel threatened by the fact that social media can bring the people together and thus, create a revolution. This in turn can cause political instability.

Social Networking Sites – Examples of banning

The Social Networking Sites are banned in few counties, either wholly or partially. It is simply a kind of censorship which is taking place around the globe.

- North Korea – The networking sites are blocked in this country since the advent of Internet in order to prevent the access to any communication which has not been provided by the government.

- Iran – The social networking sites are blocked in Iran since 2009 after the Presidential elections. After the election of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, the social media has played an important role in his administration's media scheme.

- China – China is the most common country known for banning the social media. After the protests by Uighurs (Muslim ethnic minority of China) turned into the deadly riots, the social media started to see its extinction in the country.

- Pakistan – It has blocked the You Tube since 2002, when the trailer of a controversial film appeared on the site. The name of the film was “The innocence of Muslims”.

- Turkey – Twitter was banned in Turkey for two weeks in 2014 and You Tube is banned since March 2014. These sites were banned to decrease the portrayal of government corruption. There were certain evidence related to the corruption of government after the 2014 election.

Facts and Figures

- In 2011 – 2012, Twitter saw a heavy growth among the other social networking sites.

- The number of social media users in India has crossed to a huge population of 80 millions in 2014.

- Around 1.11 billion Facebook users existed in the world in March 2013.

- Countries like Syria, Sudan and China have completely cut off the Internet during the times of turmoil.

- Though the government of Vietnam denies of having blocked Facebook, the people of the country have complained that they are unable to access this particular site.

- Though Iran has given a complete ban on social media, the President of the country is active on Facebook.
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