The rapid popularity of social media usage profoundly impacts our society in both positive and negative ways. While these platforms promote digital literacy, local content, business opportunities, and instant access to information, they also have the potential to impact our social and religious values negatively. The spread of false, fabricated, fraudulent, inappropriate, and hateful content poses a significant challenge to preserving our cultural and ethical values. Online platforms despite having numerous essential benefits also contain serious risks.
Moreover, users not fully aware of prevailing local laws and community guidelines issued by SM platforms usually become victims of financial fraudsters, and online predators or face legal consequences by attempting unlawful online actions. For public facilitation, necessary guidelines with respect to safe and responsible use of social media are provided as under:
Be Careful while sharing content
Spreading information over social media is a matter of seconds but once uploaded, it becomes part of our digital footprint and can be utilized by anyone for negative purposes like blackmailing, marketing etc. Any unlawful content can be retrieved for tracing original owner/uploader of content (including deleted content!) by Law Enforcement Agencies for initiating legal proceeding. Hence, everyone should be careful while posting or sharing photos, personal or family information, as it can negatively impact your own or someone else’s personal life even years later. So, make a thumb rule: “Think twice before posting/sharing anything over online platforms”.
Securing Personal Information
While it is true that nothing is entirely private on the internet, it is essential to prioritize keeping personal information confidential to prevent potential misuse in the future. Only share content online that you are comfortable with and confident will not compromise your privacy or security. Most SM platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Tiktok etc. offers built-in security features to its subscribers/users which can be adjusted as per our requirement. Necessary guidelines in this regard are provided as under:
- Acquire basic knowledge about online dangers like bullying, sexting, spamming, phishing etc.
- Personal profiles be kept private and privacy settings shall be checked regularly.
- Always set strong password, comprising of alphanumeric and special characters & use two-factor authentication (2FA). Use latest anti-virus software and update on regular basis.
- Don’t make your family pictures, phone numbers, credit card pics, email addresses, date of birth etc. public unless essential.
- Parents to use private Parental Control Software to monitor and restrict kids’ online activities to an appropriate level.
Respect to others beliefs
Islam gives us a lesson of showing politeness, patience, tolerance and courtesy while communicating with others. Hence, these traits should be used when interacting with others over Social Media. Also avoid uploading or sharing sensitive content especially content having the potential to trigger law & order situation in the country, cause real world harm or may hurt religious sentiments of others religion or sects.
Compliance to Local laws
Ignorance of law cannot be excused for initiating legal proceeding hence. Users should be well aware about important clauses of prevailing local laws (i.e. PECA, PPC, copyright laws).
Users can report through in-app reporting feature enabling technical teams of concerned SM platform to view reported unlawful content and take appropriate action. The details of which can be seen at:
|Platform||Reporting Subject||URL/Email Address|
|Hacked and Fake Accounts||https://www.facebook.com/help/1306725409382822|
|Any Objectionable Content||https://www.facebook.com/help/reportlinks|
|Abusive or harmful Material||https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169998|
|Posted Private Information||https://support.twitter.com/forms/private_information|
|Policies, safety, and reporting||https://www.youtube.com/reportingtool/legal?visit_id=1- 636378698281967217-1933292252&rd=1|
Public can also approach PTA & FIA via:
- Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) through (https://complaint.fia.gov.pk/) for legal proceeding
- PTA through (https://complaint.pta.gov.pk/RegisterComplaint.aspx) for removal of unlawful content through concerned website/SM platforms.
By Muhammad Farooq
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