Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Kate Jones is filling in for Emily Taylor, who will be back next week.
Around the world these days, social media’s impact on societies is creating understandable tensions. The way in which social media shapes the public conversation has an unpleasant underbelly, exposing and arguably fostering hate and division, while fueling an explosion of objectionable images ranging from child abuse to revenge porn. The risk is that these tensions will become an excuse for restricting freedom of expression, transforming social media from being platforms that enable limitless voices to reach limitless audiences into platforms that allow a few powerful voices to reach huge numbers of people.
In India, a country of over 600 million internet users and the biggest market by user numbers for both Google and Facebook, these tensions are now crystallizing into a battle between the government and social media platforms.