The Age of Un­cen­sored So­cial Me­dia

Technowize Magazine - - Features -

Who­ever con­trols so­cial me­dia, con­trols the world. In the 21st cen­tury cultural land­scape, so­cial-me­dia-fol­lower counts far ex­ceed tabloid’s paid cir­cu­la­tion. of­fi­cial an­nounce­ments or state­ments are sent to PR com­pa­nies and ma­jor me­dia out­lets any­more, they’re di­rectly pub­lished by up­load­ing a screen­shot to Twit­ter, Face­book and In­sta­gram. For bet­ter or worse, who­ever seems to have fig­ured it out has the power to change the world.

The Arab Spring is one of the best-known ex­am­ples of how we can use so­cial me­dia to do some good to the world. Take a look at so­cial jus­tice war­riors: pho­tos and videos shared on so­cial me­dia has the po­ten­tial to be used as ev­i­dence of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions and wartime atroc­i­ties. So­cial

me­dia has the power to bring to­gether like-minded peo­ple who’re fight­ing an enor­mous chal­lenge, such as war in the Mid­dle East or cli­mate change. To­day, so­cial me­dia has be­come an im­por­tant plat­form for pro­vid­ing an ink and a paper to peo­ple who want to par­tic­i­pate equally as in­flu­en­tial lead­ers to bring good change to the planet. It has also changed the way we con­nect to lo­cal chal­lenges as well as the way we look at enor­mous nar­ra­tives that will af­fect us as a global com­mu­nity.

Back in 2010, a tech non­profit called Ma­jal launched crowd­voice. org, a plat­form that uti­lizes crowd­sourc­ing and crowd-ver­i­fi­ca­tion to archive and pre­serve con­tent cre­ate by so­cial move­ments. The project has since grown, now in­clud­ing unique features such as time­lines and in­fo­graph­ics. Me­dia out­lets like Al Jazeera, The guardian, and un News cen­ter have show­cased ev­i­dence of abuse gath­ered by crowd­voice to show a wide range of is­sues, from the abuse of mi­grant work­ers in Saudi Ara­bia to the con­flict in war zones like Syria. The plat­form has now been cen­sored in Ye­men and Bahrain after ac­tivists in both the coun­tries be­gan col­lect­ing ev­i­dence of abuses in­flicted by these gov­ern­ments.

Me­dia from protests and con­flicts is shared across the web prove so­cial me­dia plat­forms across the world are com­mit­ted to host­ing cit­i­zen-gen­er­ated me­dia with spe­cial at­ten­tion to vig­i­lance and in­tegrity, thereby ar­chiv­ing it in a way that it is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble. We are slowly be­com­ing a global com­mu­nity via so­cial me­dia that safe­guards and sup­ports those who take the risk by shar­ing ev­i­dence and al­low­ing anonymity. As we bring more in­no­va­tion, we’re move to­wards an era where this ev­i­dence will be used to en­sure it is used to bring aware­ness, ac­tion and jus­tice.

In the western world, the role of so­cial me­dia in crim­i­nal jus­tice is grow­ing by leaps and bounds. An in­creas­ing num­ber of women are us­ing Twit­ter, Face­book, In­sta­gram and other plat­forms for

jus­tice they can­not find in a court of law. In the past, we’ve cov­ered al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual abuse against Tor de­vel­oper Ja­cob Ap­ple­baum, poet Thomas El­lis, porn ac­tor James Deen – ex­act­ing pub­lic pun­ish­ment. Mean­while, ac­cusers are deemed the so called “dig­i­tal vig­i­lantes.”

If noth­ing else, we’re also us­ing so­cial me­dia to usher an era of so­cial equal­ity move­ment. Take, for in­stance, the #Freethenip­ple cam­paign that en­cour­ages top­less­ness, which at one point led to an Ice­landic MP Björt Ólafs­dot­tir get­ting her breasts out on so­cial me­dia for ev­ery­one to see.

The move­ment first be­gan in the u.s. as a re­tal­i­a­tion against cen­sor­ship of the fe­male nip­ple on the so­cial me­dia. While we can post pic­tures on Twit­ter, Face­book, In­sta­gram and other so­cial me­dia of us top­less, what usu­ally fol­lows is a tor­rent of abuse.

Last year, a stu­dent had to take a pic­ture down on Face­book which show­cased her and her boyfriend top­less. The threats com­ing her way made her ques­tion: Why was she being sex­u­al­ized? Why was his chest neu­tral?

The cam­paign gained trac­tion when Mi­ley

cyrus and var­i­ous other high-pro­file women got in­volved in­clud­ing cara Delev­ingne and Ri­hanna. In ad­di­tion, tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity such as chealsea handler showed their sup­port to the move­ment by putting var­i­ous pic­tures of her­self on In­sta­gram.

The general rule with so­cial me­dia sites is that you can show your breast in the photo but the ac­tual nip­ple has to be blurred out. of­fi­cial In­sta­gram pol­icy about “of­fen­sive con­tent” is thus: “If you wouldn’t show the photo or video you are think­ing about up­load­ing to a child, or your boss, or your par­ents, you prob­a­bly shouldn’t share it on In­sta­gram. Ac­counts found shar­ing nu­dity or ma­ture con­tent will be dis­abled and your ac­cess to In­sta­gram may be dis­con­tin­ued.”

The big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween protests from 100 years ago is that there are more so­cial move­ments, demon­stra­tions and protests to­day. Thanks to so­cial me­dia, the way we or­ga­nize move­ments has greatly changed. Peo­ple are re­al­iz­ing they’re not as great as Ma­hatma gandhi or Martin Luther King, but they them­selves are the change that they’d been look­ing for.

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that there is a dark side to such move­ments. glob­ally, men and women face in­creas­ing back­lash and tor­rents of abuse on so­cial me­dia. This also in­cludes threats of rape as well as death, as in­ter­net trolls take it upon them­selves to po­lice peo­ple in­volved in move­ments on the in­ter­net. With the rise of such move­ments on so­cial me­dia, it is im­por­tant that peo­ple are pro­tected from all forms of abuse – online as well as off­line.

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