The dark side of social media

The dark side of social media

Social media is one of the most talked about topics of our time. Many writers and journalists have helped to create a buzz around it. A buzz that has made people believe that social media is something other than “real.” It is very easy to believe that everything that happens on the Internet is virtual and that it has its own set of rules and regulations.

I believe that this is a very incorrect approach. Social media has real effects on real people.

Therefore, I am very puzzled that the courts are trying to carve out new rules for social media and its outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Why do we need new rules for social media? It doesn’t make any sense. If something is bad and punishable in the “real” world, it should be considered bad and punishable in the virtual world.

Naturally, this goes for countries that are better at identifying what is criminal and what is freedom of thought. Turkey is a country that threatens its people with jail just for expressing their thoughts. Therefore, we, as a country, should first figure out what is punishable and what is not. But that is the subject of the next column.

In the last days, two incidents have proven that social media is as real as it gets. Audrie Pott was 15 when she took her own life. Authorities say it was after photographs of her on the night she was incapacitated and raped were circulated online.

Now, what should be done to those who circulated the photos? Does it need to be anything different than how we deal with people who force someone else to commit suicide through their actions in the real world?

The second case is a huge trade issue. Samsung is alleged to have hired students to post negative comments about phones made by Taiwan’s HTC. Samsung, based in South Korea, said the “unfortunate incident” had gone against the company’s “fundamental principles.”

If found guilty of engaging in “false advertising,” Samsung and its local agent could face fines of up to of 25 million Taiwanese dollars (547,000 pounds).

Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission had begun an investigation after receiving a series of complaints, a spokesman told the AFP news agency.

A local website had published documents appearing to show Samsung had been recruiting students to criticize HTC and praise Samsung anonymously on the web.

Samsung Taiwan said it had not been told about the investigation, but the subsidiary put a statement on its local Facebook page saying it had “ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments.”

I love the brand but isn’t it a case that is as real as any? So lets stop trying to prove that social media is something different and magical and accept that it is exactly like the real world. Maybe then we can stop these types of crimes.