The rapid evolution of the global world has given rise to the IoT (Internet of Things) where every common individual has gained access to social media and has become susceptible to cyber attacks. Acquisition of smart devices has become too frequent and these devices have become indispensable for the disposal of our daily life affairs.
Moreover, cheap availability has provided access to tom, dick, and harry in our society. Social platforms of cyberspace have become more vibrant and remain active for 24 hours.
Digitisation – a double-edged sword?
Although information technology has provided superb convenience in the global world, we need to fully understand the contours of cyberspace. The potential hazards of a surface net can ignite a dreadful psychological inferno through confusion and chaos in a particular society.
The vivid role of social and electronic media has the strength to mould public perspective. Before, when social media was not much famous among the public, electronic media had to serve as the purpose of the prime mainstream object of propagation and mass communication. It attracted scores of viewers. It gradually impacted the socio-political and cultural environment.
However, now social media has grown more vigorous to replace conventional electronic media. It has provided opportunities to earn for V-loggers’ entrepreneurs, artists. Even professional news anchors, journalists have changed their preference towards YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
The latent power of trending on social media can generate some uncontrollable consequences, and this is something important to comprehend. It can aggravate public frustration, and can explode public discourse into mayhem and abuse about a particular domain. To conceive this concept, we shall look into the past months how it generated a mob stir and how many institutions came under the siege of violent criticism.
Social media’s role in social causes – the good and the bad
In May 2020, the United States witnessed a violent outburst of protests, and the wave was tremendous enough to be felt worldwide. This episode started with an unfortunate death of George Floyd, a black American in police custody, with the charge on the bases of using dollar bills for counterfeit.
Apart from mishandling of a suspect or culprit over here, it is pertinent to mention that how Twitter invoked an unprecedented vociferation among public and the hashtag #BlackLiveMatter roughly appeared 47. 8 million times on Twitter and left the New York police department in wild incendiary.
If we look into more keen analysis in our close vicinity, we can observe the brutal excruciating of a man Amir of Tehkal in Peshawar. Though when his first video of calling ill the elite police officers and abusing national institutions blatantly, the public perspective was inclined towards the police and was against him.
But when the video of brutal and illegitimate torture upon him surfaced on the net the public turned violent in protest against police and even police station gone under attack by a violent mob. Hashtag of #AmirTehkala remained floating among the topmost trends on Twitter.
Similarly, a while back, when Pakistani leadership inaugurated construction work for Diamer Bhasha Dam a trend on Twitter with hashtags of #NoDamsOnIndus and #SindhRejectsBashadam appeared most frequently. Just a few days ago #BoycotARY, #BycotARYDigital trends were more significant to rock against discriminatory arts exhibition of a renown show Bulbulay.
The most notable point about all these factual assessments manifests that somehow these incidents and events were portraying racial discrimination. Often, such trends cause racial, ethnic, and nationalist factors to overreact.
For instance, in the case of Amir of Tehkal and Basha dam, people could see mostly user accounts were unknown and unconfirmed who joined this mayhem on Twitter and Facebook against the government and national institutions of Pakistan.
Cyberwarfare is a dangerous reality
Though the urgency of IoT has expanded beyond the expectations, still the modern world and developed countries have maintained restraint on what can imperil their national interests.
Learning from China, platforms like Facebook, and Google are being blocked by their ‘Great Fire Wall ‘. Forbes magazine revealed against the famous FaceApp during 2019, and even the FBI investigated against it and termed it as Russian developed “Counter Intelligence Threat”.
Similarly, apps are used for espionage and stealth of information widely. Recently, countermeasures taken by the Pakistani government against online games and apps, which were causing moral and psychological degradation of youth, are quite laudable.
Nevertheless, it requires a comprehensive approach to determine the psychological impacts of cyberspace. The scope of cyberspace is indispensable but can be formidable as it is extensive and extreme. There shall be a proper forensic analysis of android applications, and it is time to develop surveillance mechanisms to keep track of social media to analyze the campaign of vile and public distraction and shall have the countermeasures against a breach, possible espionage.
There should be proactive capabilities to respond to propaganda timely and to protect our psychological front through better assessment of the contours of our cyberspace.
The author is a certified cybersecurity expert working with the federal government. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.