What If Aadhar Was Made Mandatory in India for Using Social Media

Chopra Discusses the Advantages of Aadhar in Today’s ‘Social’ World

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Social platforms give even the meekest a voice, share a brilliant idea, market a product, gather endorsements and so on. At the same time, it is also a hotbed for misplaced judgments, fake content, click bait and thousands of cases of social bullying. All these and more misadventures are possible and happen daily mostly due to the single most powerful feature that these platforms offer to its users – anonymity. The current set of credentials of attaching phone numbers for identification with social platforms (not all platforms do that) is not effective enough in a country like India where acquiring phone numbers and misusing them is easy. If the government of India makes it mandatory to attach Aadhar card with each social profile, it will cut heaps of crap from social media and make it a curated platform.
Aadhaar establishes a unique identity for every single person and has become ubiquitous for secure and convenient identification, and for better delivery of public and private services. It has become mandatory for acquiring a Driving License, PAN Card, making railway reservations, filing income tax, and applying for PF/EPF and much more. So, why not make it mandatory while creating social profiles, for the safety of the users?

Social Bullying

Bullying is a social phenomenon. To some, it is second nature, and anonymity gives them a free hand. The anonymity even turns otherwise normal people into bullies who vent their frustration on social media often in an unjustified manner. If bullying seems a non-issue, let’s look into the consumer reports that will help us recognise the elephant in the room. In 2011, over one million children were harassed on Facebook alone. 68% of teens recognise it as a significant problem. Now figure the quantum of bullying among all age groups, across all platforms.

Why Do Bullies Bully?

  • 58% believe the victims deserved it
  • 28% find it entertaining to bully someone
  • 14% actually love to show off that they can be mean
  • A whopping 81% do it because it’s easy to get away with bullying online

That was then, the 2011 report. Now the numbers might have changed for worse. How can we stop this? Platforms have already enforced strict rules to all content being posted. But the users change a few keystrokes to get the job done. F*#k has the same impact as do P0rn or Pron. Educating the younger lot about web civics is not working either. Spreading awareness among parents about the extensive risk rendered by cyberbullying, though a good endeavour, has not been effective. Remember 81% bully because they can do so, and get away online easily. Aadhar is one such attachment to their profiles that will deter them from bullying. Nobody can hide from Aadhar, only fools will dare to.

Fake Profile and Photographs

Fake profile holders do more harm to individuals and businesses than the social bullies with genuine profiles. Fake profiles are created to propagate lies, false reviews, dupe other users, and at times to masquerade as the original namesake. Whether fake or real, once you put something on social media you have very little control over re-tweets, likes, comments and shares. One may use fake profiles to peddle lies to propagate a political agenda. Masses are completely hypnotised to the social networks and they fall prey to such propaganda.

No amount of education will help stop fake profiles except a unique and foolproof identification attached to them. Aadhar will check the creation of a second profile in the first place, for a particular platform. I don’t know if Beyonce has a Facebook profile, but you will find a thousand accounts in India bearing her photograph as the profile pic just to grab eyeballs. The profile holders might have good intentions, but a lot many are hiding their true colours with vicious intentions. Also, with Aadhar, one can’t fake his/her age – kids stay out of social media until the appropriate age.

Misplaced Judgments and Blames

In the real world, the victim and the perpetrator target each other – .from inappropriate comments to defamation and threats. But it hurts the most when the target diverts to a third party absolutely unrelated to the issue at hand. Who can forget the Sonu Nigam – Sonu Sood, and Snapchat – Snapdeal confusion. Singer Sonu Nigam startled the whole nation when he went on a Twitter to express his displeasure over being woken up early in the morning by Azaan from the local mosque. His remarks did not go down well with many, and soon after the singer received a lot of flak for his tweets. However, in a classic case of mis-identity, Twitterati got confused between Sonu Nigam and Sonu Sood, and lot many ended up trolling the Happy New Year actor Sonu Sood instead.

Snapchat was being boycotted with #UninstallSnapchat in India for its founding CEO Evan Speigel’s comment that he had no intentions of expanding services to poor countries like India and Spain. While it was trending, people got confused between Snapchat and Snapdeal and they uninstalled the Snapdeal app instead, some wrote bad reviews on the e-commerce giant’s app page. We’ve seen it – from misplaced anger, name-calling, blame games on Twitter, to app uninstallations on Play Store and Appstore. Had there been a unique identity attached to the profile, Sonu Sood and Snapdeal would have been spared the brutal trolling.

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