Misuse of social media is a threat to our society

Misuse of social media is a threat to our society

4268
4
SHARE

Khaled Almaeena

The advent of social media in the region has had several positive effects. No longer can the guardians of media suppress information, incidents or narratives that previously could not see the light of day. As a result several incidents concerning the public have come to the fore and errant officials have been taken to task by the authorities.

However, there is another side to this sudden new found freedom – a more negative and at times sinister one. It can be used to create prejudice and spread misinformation, lies and rumors to attack other people one does not agree with, other sects and ethnic groups. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat are being used for malicious purposes to undermine people’s honor and character.

When a Jeddah businessman made a statement concerning the budget that was misunderstood, many attacked him with vile criticism and abuses were hurled at him. His personal life was unfolded on the social media platform.

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” as the saying goes and those who had no idea what was behind the businessman’s statement joined in the fray. It was a free-for-all and went on for several weeks revealing a dark and ugly side of our society.

Apart from this, there are miscreants who post a comment attributing it to someone else. The so-called “good citizens” begin tweeting it, linking to it and even disseminating it through emails. They even fax it and take delight in disparaging the victim.

In our society, such practices are initiated to propagate one’s loyalty and patriotism. These are all false attempts in self-aggrandizement. Many believe them and the victim becomes an object of scorn. What is more dangerous is the call by some of these self-appointed “guardians of the nation” to arrest the person who is falsely believed to have put his views on social media.

Evidence is ignored, conspiracy theories are cooked up and these miscreants plaster their victims with accusations. They use false accounts to add followers. Anyone disagreeing with them is termed a traitor. And because we are not a politically mature society, many of us fall into the trap. In their eyes, anyone not following their viewpoint is termed a betrayer.

However, we cannot all be parrots. Some of us have our own opinions. And I tell them that we not only have them but we also have empathy for other people. Things are really getting out of control.

A couple of days ago, a woman tweeted calling for my arrest. I ask these people: Are you the sole agents of patriotism and loyalty?

Social media is a good and speedy platform and it should be put to good use to create better understanding and to highlight our values and ideals. Anything else will only serve to plunge us into a dark abyss.

The writer is Editor-at-Large. He can be reached at kalmaeena@saudigazette.com.sa and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena

4 COMMENTS

  1. It is a very good article about the misuse of social media. Undoubtedly it causes much discrimination in the society. Only education and good conduct can protect us from such discriminations.

  2. well said : “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing . Unfortunately many people has no ethics , they hide themselves behind different names and attack others . Holy Quran has mentioned that anyone will be responsible for his ears , his eyes and his heart. I agree with the writer that Social media is a good and speedy platform and it should be put to good use to create better understanding and to highlight our values and ideals. Anything else will only serve to plunge us into a dark abyss

  3. Without a doubt Mr Khaled Al-Maeena is not only the best journalist of Saufi Arabia, but is the best known Arab journalist across the globe. He has, very timely, pointed out to an increasing very damaging threat of misuse of social media, particularly in Arab world, and south east Asia. To immediately contain this dangerous, and sometimes far reaching menace, the authotities must act promptly and decicively to punish the perpetrators of this sort of crime. The Saudi government must take immediate action against the lady who has asked for Mr Al-Maeena’s arrest, & give her an apprpriate punishment for slandering such a patriotic Saudi, who loves his country; and has done so much for Saudi Arabia, and Muslim world.

LEAVE A REPLY