When it comes to social media, and the information that is put out there, it is very hard to ascertain what constitutes fact, and what is fiction; especially, when we are all too quick and blindly accept it as the truth.

 

Some real life incidents reveal how some news  comprise  half truths, and once its uploaded on social media, the repercussions on the targeted individual lives and reputations are often subject to ridicule.  

 

Take for instance, the recent news of the bank employee  who went viral after a video of hers was uploaded, and sarcastically titled as : “The bank cashier who works at the fastest pace in this globe”, The video showed a lady bank employee working in a slow manner, and it was shared across multiple social media platforms and was laughed at.   

 

However, shortly thereafter, the backstory of her life  came to light only through a social activist later, after the damage was done.

This is not the first time that this has happened. A similar incident too was recorded in Delhi, where a Salim, a cop was seen stumbling inside the metro in Delhi, and was assumed to be drunk.  The video was viewed widely with  2,00,000 people having watched it.

 

Subsequently, he faced departmental procedures and also faced suspension! The impact was such that his wife suffered mild heart attack.  But the truth of the matter was that Salim had suffered a stroke and was not drunk.  Post enquiry, the police department asked him to report back to duty. But a humiliated Salim has launched legal battle against the person who uploaded the video of his fall.

 

Thus, it is imperative to question the veracity of videos, as exemplified from the above two examples because we don’t always get to hear the whole story, more so in an age of instant gratification.  

 

 In a bid to rack up likes and shares, and the need for constant social validation and connectedness, anything and everything is uploaded, with little thought to the consequences of those actions.  Once recorded in the digital mode, it is hard to erase its contents and becomes difficult to set right the wrong on a large viral scale.

 

Nobody has any right to deride or criticise any person in public irrespective of the media platform, whether through print or video. Even if they are done inadvertently devoid of any proofs, no remedial measures are there to set right the damage it has already caused.

 

We’ve all heard of various cases of people who’ve killed themselves or attempted suicides for having been portrayed in a wrong light in the era of Facebook and YouTube, all because someone thought it would be funny to show the world of a particular incident. These misinterpreted versions take a serious toll on the said target.  Young minds are even more vulnerable to such deeds.

 

Social media can be both a boon and a bane. It can be used wisely in the dissemination of  citizen-friendly news, issues or developments to name a few. But there has to be a sense of accountability and responsibility that comes with the territory – the lack of which was displayed in the cases of Shinde and Salim.

 

Social circles have opined that strict legal provisions should be brought in to restrict such absurd actions. Filing of defamation suit is one such deterrent. The IT Act also envisages penal action against those who defame others for no reason.