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Is Social Media Making Our Mob Mentality Worse?

Posted on September 9, 2016 in Society

By Jyoti JG:

We seem to collectively misuse social media. Yes, there are a myriad of problems it solves and it has made lives easier and has made the world a smaller place but I do beg to differ that at times we tend to misuse it. There are a few examples that exemplify my argument:

1. The Jasleen Kaur Incident

In mid-August 2015, a girl named Jasleen Kaur posted on her Facebook account about how she was sexually harassed by a man near a signal and it went viral. It generated a media uproar. People started asking for the man’s head while calling him a pervert and calling for his ostracisation. He is said to have lost his job and was almost confined to his house for a long time. A news channel asked him to apologise on national television for his wrong doing which he bluntly refused and tried explaining his point of view about what had actually happened that night, but neither the mainstream media nor the social media was ready to buy his words. Later, a few witnesses came forward and presented another side to the story. While the actual events of the incidents remain unclear to this day, it was the mob mentality that had taken centerstage because of this incident.

2. The Rohtak Sisters

The case of the Rohtak sisters where they thrashed a fellow bus traveler went viral on social media too, and the girls were hailed as ‘brave’ and as ‘heroes of contemporary India’. Social media didn’t spare the men involved and the attention it generated due to multiple shares, views and comments led to the Indian Army issuing a decision not to admit the alleged harassers who had passed the physical test into the Army. While multiple sides have since emerged showing discrepancies in the tales narrated by the sisters, it is how we may have initially reacted that had such an impact.

3. The ‘Drunk’ Delhi Cop

The case of a Delhi cop was one in which a video in which he was apparently in an inebriated state had gone viral on social media. However, later, it was revealed that the cop in question was suffering from brain haemorrhage and was on medication. Prior to the incident, he had a stroke that left his left part of the body paralysed while on that night he suffered a blackout but instead of helping him out, someone had made a video and put it on social media. The cop was later suspended, however, when the concerned department ordered an inquiry, he came out clean.

While I’m not saying should not put up things on social media but before doing that we should be sure and ascertain some facts for ourselves before jumping onto the bandwagon and generating a fuss and hullabaloo about it, because we may just share, like, comment, log out and go back to sleep. But these things may make or break some one else’s lives.

I’m not against anyone who is brave enough to come forward and post things on social media. I respect them and appreciate the fact that they have the requisite strength and nerves of steel to do so. Things like this are really commendable when they are right, and we as responsible citizens should know the facts before we share such things.