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Facebook popularity increases vulnerability to hate comments in South Asia

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 18, 2020 | Last Updated: 7 months ago
Posted: Feb 18, 2020 | Last Updated: 7 months ago
Facebook popularity increases vulnerability to hate comments in South Asia

Muhammad Awais (right) at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad. Photo: Rahim Sajwani/ SAMAA Digital

The more Facebook friends you have, the higher are the chances of you getting hate comments, says Muhammad Awais, a lecturer at Sialkot’s University of Management and Technology.

Awais says you are being exposed to online hate even with cybercrime laws to prevent it.

He was presenting his research paper at the International Conference for Media and Conflict in Islamabad last week. The two-day long conference was organised by the Pakistan Peace Collective and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

His research is based on a survey conducted in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka about the experiences people have had with online hate comments.

In Pakistan, the survey sample included 250 college and varsity students between 15 and 29 years of age from Lahore and Sialkot. Of them, 112 were women and 138 men.

“When you trust people online, it is very likely that you’ll be exposed to some sort of hate,” said Awais.

The academic concluded that 23% of males in the South Asian study were more likely to receive hate on social media platforms than women.

He called the hate groups a “threat to national security” and said that a cross-national consideration to counter them was the need of the hour.

Awais suggested that such studies should also be carried out in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, particularly because of the ISIS.

“The ISIS is also using social media platforms to radicalise people to get their evil needs fulfilled,” he said.

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