Question: You are an internet freedom activist trying to prevent government intervention or control over internet platforms. Once you come across a video showing sexual exploitation of a minor girl on a famous micro-blogging platform and you decide to act against it. You request the company to take down the video but the company rejects it as the demand has not come from government. When you approach the government, the ministry says that there are no such laws that will dictate the social media platforms what should they do as internet freedom activists have sabotaged the implementation of a potential law in this regard. You are aware that if this law comes into action, social media will be highly regulated but it will also prevent such videos from coming up on the platform.
a. How will u manage the dilemma associated with this incident?
b. Suggest steps that you could possibly take to achieve the dual objective of removing illegal videos and also preventing internet from being regulated.
Answer: Internet along with social media is a dual-edged sword. On one hand it gives the power to the voice of the people, one the other anonymous trolls can use the platform for carrying out illegal actions. Balancing both objectives is the need of the hour.
In this case, I will be obliged to listen to government. But I also have to ensure that my core principles regarding internet freedom remains intact.
- Following inner conscience
I would have to make my decision by trusting inner conscience to see if internet freedom is more important than censoring illegal activities. Based on this feeling I can decide on future course of action.
- Looking for middle-path
A best way would be to find a middle path that is acceptable to both of my belief system. It will keep my dedication to both these efforts intact.
Measures to achieve dual objective
- Public movement
To put pressure on company without involving the government, it would be better to start a public movement. It can act as a necessity for company to censor the particular video as well as similar ones.
- Media pressure
Another way would be to involve media houses and tell them about the necessity to put pressure on social media platforms. This can be another way to achieve the objective.
- Mass boycott
A boycott movement can be started by using hastgags or physical demonstrations. If a suitable amount of people boycott, company will be under pressure to act.
- Social media ethics
To prevent such events in future, social media companies can have an ethics board that will decide if a particular post violates its ethical and public policy.
Thus, this incident is not isolated one. There will always be pros and cons of a particular policy. There should be a flexible policy by both government and companies to keep such untoward incidents at bay.