A changed social media can make the world a better place: Official - GulfToday

A changed social media can make the world a better place: Official


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

The world must come together in transforming all social media platforms into safer and secure communication tools as these have become fertile ground for all mis- and disinformation including the violation to privacy.

University of Birmingham (Dubai) Masters of Science in International Business Programme director Dr Mei-na Liao also agreed with Gulf Today that education holds the key against the rapid cascade of fake and unverified news.

“I strongly agree that including social media as part of the curriculum is important. I would agree that it should start earlier than university because children are exposed to social media and they are the new generation of users too.”

Liao continued by describing the world as “multi-dimensional” with social media having become among its facets and therefore, “the fundamental aspect of education on critical thinking and etiquette in communication need to be extended to the digital aspect of our living space.”

Liao was interviewed recently as June 30 (Tuesday) is the tenth “World Social Media Day,” an inititiative of Mashable, the Scotland-based digital media/news/blogging site founded on July 19, 2005 by former CNN technology/social media columnist Pete Cashmore, among “Time” magazine’s “100 Most Influential Personalities” in 2012.

The thrust of the “World Social Media Day” is to know the extent of the effects of all social media platforms on every day life and its effectiveness as a communication tool.

The rankings of these platforms according to the first quarter 2020 data on global monthly active users, active user accounts, advertising audiences and unique monthly visitors were Facebook (2.4 million), You Tube (two million), WhatsApp (1.6 million), Facebook Messenger (1.3 million), Weixin/WeChat (1.2 million), Instagram (one million), Doujin/TikTok (800,000), QQ (731,000), QZone (517,000), Sina Weibo (497,000), Reddit (430,000), SnapChat (382,000), Twitter (342,000), Pinterest (322,000, and Kuaishou (316,000).

Moreover, according to the “Digital 2020 Global Overview Report” published in the “We Are Social” portal, of the 4.54 billion Internet users with 298 million new users worldwide , social media users were at 3.80 billion with an addition of 321 million users as of the first quarter of the year. With the average spend of six hour and 43 minutes over the WorldWideWeb each day by every active user, the highest social media usage rate was registered by the Philippines at over a little nine hours each day compared to its 2018 recording at three hours.

At the June 22 “World Government Summit: Virtual Health Forum 2020” under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Health and Prevention AbdulRahman Bin Mohammed Al Owais had suggested that a forum dedicated to social media must be organised. His reason was the surge of infodemic, the rapid rush of accurate as well as inaccurate news on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic.

Liao commented, “Yes. I cannot agree more. Ironically social media is an amplifier of communication effects. COVID19 has amplified the many faults of social media and the need to find a way to govern it more effectively.”

The UoB-Dubai Engagement and Business Development head pointed out that social media has become “the amazing platform for medical and healthcare professionals to share their knowledge to combat the spread of the virus.”

She lamented too the snowballing of “countless fake news and downright false reports about the cause and cure of the virus from known and unknown sources which have been rampant leading to assaults and in extreme cases, deaths.”

Liao had earlier mentioned of the social media ability to connect and re-connect everyone and anyone else brought about by “a few barriers and no censorships” in most parts of the globe.

For her, this has become “very damaging” not only in these worrying times.

Relating it to COVID19, Liao said that based on a survey, half of the respondents had found themselves fooled by misleading information raised through the social media platforms.

Related articles