Other links:

Other links:

Social Media

The explosion in popularity of social media and instant messaging platforms has revolutionised personal expression and communication, with India leading this charge. But this has also facilitated the proliferation of disinformation, illegal profiling, and hate speech, with implications for both the personal mental health and well-being of users, and the security of the nation as a whole. 

The widespread adoption of social media has revolutionised personal communication and expression. But this revolution has also created some complex challenges.

📰  Fake News

🕵️‍♂️  Illegal Profiling

🗳️  Inappropriate Political Campaigns

🧠  Mental Health Issues

🏛️ National Security Issues

🎯  Predatory Advertising

These have become a particular focus of governance in recent years, as governments at different levels engage with technology and social media companies.

In 2021, the government asked WhatsApp to comply with a traceability requirement in the new IT Rules 2021 in its end-to-end encrypted messaging service.

In the same year, Twitter appealed a number of the government’s takedown requests

Citing national security concerns, India banned TikTok in 2020 along with a number of other Chinese applications.

In 2021, the Central government invited WhatsApp to roll back changes that would have allowed users’ interactions with WhatsApp business accounts to be used for marketing.

This sets the ground for an exciting interdisciplinary research effort.

There are some immediate responses that we can undertake:

  1. A rigorous threat modelling and analysis of the traceability of end-to-end messaging issues.
  2. A set of AI-based techniques for detection of fake news and images.

⭐ The Computer Science department at Ashoka is already engaged in this work.

But there is also the opportunity to pursue an interdisciplinary research program on SOCIAL MEDIA REGULATION and FAKE NEWS: 

📈   Economics

What is the cost to society of having an unregulated social media environment? What are the costs and benefits of different regulatory approaches? 

👣 Anthropology

How do different communities respond to fake news? What is the experience of the end-user exposed to fake-news, and what kinds of regulation would best work in guarding them from misinformation?

🏛️ Political Science

How do we build systems of political neutrality into the government’s ability to regulate social media?

⚖️  Legal Theory

How should the IT Act be read in conjunction with the Supreme Court’s judgement on privacy, other constitutional rights, and the government’s mandate in national security?

🤔  Philosophy

How should we understand the tradeoff between individuals’ interest in free speech while exercising state authority to prevent hate speech and disinformation? When is regulation compatible with advancing democratic values?

🖥️ Technology

What kind of mechanisms might allow the government to effectively regulate social media? What kinds of changes should social media companies make in order to be less vulnerable to viral fake news? What are the risks of making these changes?

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka