Future of Social Media in South Asia - Facebook focuses on private messaging and small-group chats
Rohit Sinha, Mumbai
Mar. 7, 2019

People in South Asia are concerned about the dominance, highhandedness, and ignorant decisions of Social Networking mega entities like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These social networks are not customized to the need of the East and optimized for the cultural differences between the East and the West.

Facebook Inc. became the world’s biggest social network by encouraging people of the world to share messages and photos publicly. It was newly found freedom for people around the world to express themselves and be wired into each other. It became the part and parcel of life and sometimes addictive to a great extent. So came the abuse. Families fell apart because of extramarital affairs. People got abused and insulted in the Internet before they could even realize what was happening. Crooks incited crowds in developing countries to go on rampage funded by wealth people and foreign Governments. Elections got influences and virtually rigged in terms of opinion. Teenagers in South Asia committed suicide through what they learned from their social network counterparts. Certain people in South Asia were not allowed to express their opinions because Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram did not like to allow their freedom of expression which can be often controversial. In India the supporters of ruling party were not allowed free access to social networking sites and post their opinion becasue the handlers at Twitter and Facebook thought they were inappropriate. Sometime accounts were outright closed. Indian Parliament has taken the matter very seriously. They summoned local Twitter and other Social Networking executives to allow freedom expression. Social Networking companies sent their local Indian executive who confessed that control over content quality is solely rested on the folks in America. Indian Parliament has now summoned heads of these companies.

Social Media has also been used to blackmail people over the Internet and collect money through anonymous bit coin receiver. In India and other countries people have received emails which claims that someone holds embarrassing photos and videos by turning someone's camera (laptop or cell phone) remotely. The imposter asks for money in bit coin otherwise threatening to use the social media to expose the embarrassing photograph. Many have become victim of this scam.

We all know how data privacy was breached by these Social Networks. Data marketing and mining is an integral part of the business model of these companies. Advertise revenues and augmented with data selling and providing business intelligence services.

The negative effect of these social networking services has been worst in South Asia in a mega scale. This is because people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Myanmar are are less experienced with ill effects of web technologies like dark web, identity theft, fake perception, continued push marketing, deceitful online advertisement and so on.

Facebook today announced they are now betting on social media based on private messaging and small-group chats. In South Asia people are less educated compared to the West. It has been very easy to create a false perception and create trouble in Assam of India or in other countries. The miscreants use these social networking sites to create trouble and then loot people in the middle of chaos. The local authorities can do nothing other than turning wifi services off temporarily.

Governments of South Asia are closely watching these Social Networks and planning to regulate them like they do the main stream traditional media. The future of Social Networks in South Asia is customized, monitored services that are sensitive to local culture and controlled by local content approvers. In the long run, there is a possibility that there can be custom language based dedicated South Asian Social Networks that are owned, controlled, and enjoyed by people of South Asia.



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