Social Media And Its Impact On Society [UPSC Notes for GS I]

Social media has a profound influence especially on young people. Its impact and negative effects are often seen in the news; hence the topic’s relevance for the UPSC Mains. This article will describe in detail the impact of social media on society.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

These UPSC Notes on social media impact and its concerns are aligned with the UPSC Syllabus and aspirants should prepare this topic for General Studies Paper I.

Social Media And Its Impact On Society

Context

  1. Social media has been accused of polarising society due to the inflammatory nature of certain posts. 
  2. World over concerns has been raised over social media being used for surveillance, election meddling, etc. 

Aspirants can know in detail about the New Social Media Rules, IT Rules 2021 on the given link.

Background

  1. Social media has become ubiquitous. As per a UN report, 47 % of the global population is online and among them, the percentage of social media users is rising steadily. 
  2. It does not have a steep learning curve and compared to other traditional websites offers content in the local language.
  3. The barriers to entry are quite low and there is a large and well development ecosystem in place for users which is unavailable in traditional TV media. The positives of social media.
  4. Social media offers a variety of entertainment that offers an escape from the conventional scripted entertainment industry funded by established studios. 
  5. It offers people-to-people interaction that breaks barriers and forges a true human connection. 
  6. It also has been instrumental in pro-democracy fights in many oppressive regimes.
  7. Social media also played an important role in bringing out stories of ‘Metoo’ victims.
  8. Social media is also playing a crucial role in disaster relief, blood donation drives, etc.

Check out in detail about the Press Council of India on the link provided here.

Candidates preparing for the upcoming Civil Services Exam can go through the links provided below for comprehensive preparation-

The extent of Social Media

  • India has 574 million active Internet users as of 2019. Read more on What is Internet on the given link.
  • India is the second-largest online market, behind China.
  • It was estimated that by December 2020 there will be around 639 million active internet users in India.
  • The majority of India’s internet users are mobile phone internet users. The overall data traffic in India increased by 47% in 2019 driven by continued 4G consumption. 4G constituted 96% of the total data traffic consumed across the country while 3G data traffic registered its highest-ever decline of 30%. Know in detail about 4G features and advantages on the given link.

Also, check out the difference between 5G and 4G on the linked page.

Concerns

  1. It has led to anonymous trolls who attack the reputation of an individual. 
  2. Women face cyber rape and threats that affect their dignity severely. 
  3. Fake news and communal venom also spread like wildfire on the media. 
  4. Fake news about a child abduction gang was spread by teenagers as a prank and this led to a few people being attacked. This is encouraged by the fact that internet anonymity offers a disconnect from reality. So its users feel that they are not going to face any consequence of their actions.
  5. Social media bubbles or echo chambers are created where one finds only opinions that conform to one’s own worldview (confirmation bias). This strengthens already existing biases and prejudices. 
  6. It also creates false notions about beauty and physical standards and strengthens narcissism in some and weakens self-esteem in others. 
  7. Very structured, deep psychometric analyses have been used to influence elections and incite violence.

Conclusion

The role of media in society is a highly debated topic. There have been calls to regulate social media or ban it altogether. A ban might be an extreme step. However, a digitally literate country is the need of the hour. Responsible social media use must be taught at every school and college in the country. Aspirants should know the role of media in its entirety for the IAS Exam. 

Social Media And Its Impact On Society (UPSC Notes – GS 1) – Download PDF Here

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2021.

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