Social Media Terror

The world is going through a hard period of time, todays in many newspapers and on online websites, one of the main titles are social media terror.

It seems that it is not easy to put these 2 words together like this, at least we could say so for yesterday but today it is very different. The words “social media” and “terror” are used together. When social media did not exist, also when there were experts at this job, we were giving counseling both in the country and abroad. For the first time, we started encountering these definitions in these few years. In summary, when terror attacks were organized, it was a big danger for tens of information, correct or wrong, being shared among social media channels and in some situations, these information being able to be used for selfish benefit on some wrong hands. However, it also begs the question: What is the fault of the people who want to share content freely or to receive the most correct information from different sources? The argument here is actually not the instant broadcast ban on TV channels. The characteristic of social media and internet is pretty different from that of TV, newspaper and radio. Not the TV reporters, radiobroadcasters or journalists but the audience itself is here! Let us take a look at this from psychological and sociological perspective.

In the nature of social media, there is freedom and sharing. Sharing on social media channels that have different characteristics but similar structures is in human nature. Curiosity and hunger for information are the biggest triggers. Psychologically, it is indispensable for people to hear the news or share this news with their beloved ones in the shortest amount of time after terror attacks. On the other hand, sharing one’s own thoughts as right to use freely should be ahead of all of the bans; at least it should be that way personally.

The snowball effect in natural structure of social media concerns us sociologically. A share which receives attention is then shared by thousands of people. There is a possibility for a message to be viewed by millions of people in only one day. Never in the history has any communication tool other than TV had this power in the history. However, the social awareness here is that people who make news are the people themselves, not a special institution or a government channel.

In short, every kind of restriction, prevention, deceleration of internet has the possibility to succeed in creating a hatred society instead of a mass prevention. Having said that, social media’s power of creating social chaos must not be ignored. Think of a knife, it possible to cut a birthday cake with it or prepare a nice meal. But at the same time, in some occasions, when obliged you can use this knife as a weapon. While this knife can be used for good deeds on good people’s hands, it can be used for evil on bad people’s hands. Just like in this example, social media is an important tool that can be used for both good and evil regardless of its directors. However, it is on hands of mass power, not a single person – both as a communication tool and a mass weapon.

In this context, the precautions government took or will take can be questioned of course, however it cannot be interpreted as wrong. Just as there could be totally sincere and correct shares over social media, there could also be exacerbating shares that include malevolence and that are in a way that they would greatly worsen the chaos. Here the biggest mislead is “the shares were made by your friends” perception. Actually you know that your friends are sharing from the places the shares were taken, not the previous perception case. However, your perception world does not work like that, the actual danger is here.

Just as in many other subjects, the biggest lack here is the lack of education. We need to teach users how to use social media; give education about how to provide inspection and control. This deep and important subject concerns not only internet and social media experts, but also mass communication, psychology and sociology academicians. All social media company should have responsibility to give information and more details to users(customers) about it like facebook, twitter, youtube, instagram, and more. I hope everyone and every social company will firstly realize this. As time progresses, we witness that technology has entered our lives much more. We use social media applications installed in our phones like crazy. We now have such a massive tools in the hands of states, corporations, civil society organizations, police, even terrorists, and we are still unaware of how big this tool is. Within a minute you can turn one person into a curse that thousands of people will curse or make one person like one social media star. Unfortunately, no one cares if this information is correct or not. Because the digital world is instantaneous; you have no time or desire to check all the post one by one. Knowledge comes, and you see and give your comments; then you will go to the other post. It is a massive tool whose results are large but the actions taken are small on an individual basis.

We are not born in a world where digital technology is used so intensely, but look at the new generation. Is not it quite different from us? How different will this new generation’s reaction, which will govern the world a few years from now, than we do. More intense, more digital, more cruel. Now is the time to ask ourselves these questions: how can we control social media without destroying personal freedoms and, are you ready to face your fear and worries?