Social media, of late, has assumed the role of a pillar of statehood. It has overpowered the formal print and electronic media, and is sought after as a valued application and a tool to disseminate genuine and instant reflexes of society. This is where it lands in trouble with the stakeholders of the state, and crosses swords with the government(s) of the day. While the ownership of social media rests with the netizens and their instincts, it is not only difficult to predict but controlling and regulating it is next to impossible. Not only developing societies, but also the developed world have a problem with social media, and in contrast to claims of freedom of speech and democratic association, there are not many takers of the liberty that this new medium of information possesses.
France apparently is running out of patience with its vibrant society as President Emmanuel Macron hinted at slapping curbs on it. This was felt necessary by the centrist leader in the wake of widespread violence and riots last week, and the minute to minute coverage of it over media handles. This is not the first incident, nor will it be the last, as social media puts itself at the vanguard by taking the responsibility of acting as a mirror to happenings. Arab Spring of 2010, the civil strife from Africa to Afghanistan, the political unrest in Iran and Pakistan, to the state-centric highhandedness in Occupied Kashmir has for long been a prerogative of social media, and the medium has done a great service by showcasing reality.
It is an altogether different point that the respective political order(s) of the day beg to differ with it, and intoxicated at the hands of rampant power, try to prevail over it. Social media is an undeniable reality of our digital era. No effort to tame it and bring it under the scanner will succeed. How responsible is the coverage of the medium can only be checked with more social media interaction, and let’s not be judgmental. People will themselves call it a day with hoax and incredible accounts, and they are doing it.