Social media according to social media expert Ajeet Gunwant Prase is the fifth pillar of democracy, and while elaborating on the future of social media, he also brought attention to the much ignored darker side of cybercrime. Cyberbullies can lurk behind a cloak of anonymity online and cause unthinkable harm without having direct physical access to their victims.
He recalls when he was first introduced to social media in 2006 through Orkut, that’s when social media became an integral part of everyone’s daily lives, and now the landscape has completely changed.
Social media was introduced primarily as a means of communication to align with long-lost buddies and to share personal thoughts, ideas, and insights, but with the gradual increase of social media users, there has been a minor shift of interest of the active audience on platforms from content sharing to breach of private information.
Crimes like cyberbullying, stalking, and eve-teasing are a few of the popular and active crimes happening in the blink of an eye with someone or the other on the platform. In India, there has been an 11.8% rise in cyber crimes since 2020, with an increasing shift during the COVID-19 lockdown and more than 60% of the crimes were done for fraud.
According to Parse, the following are the most commonly used websites/apps for generating ‘Fake Profiles’:
The following are some of the most prevalent crimes perpetrated on or as a result of social media:
Cyberbullying, stalking, and online threats
People making threats, bullying, harassing, and stalking others online are the most regularly reported and viewed crimes on social media. While much of this type of criminal activity goes unpunished or isn’t taken seriously, victims of these crimes often don’t know when to notify the cops. It’s probably a good idea to notify the police if you feel threatened by a remark published online about you, or if you believe the threat is credible.
Fraud and hacking
Although it may be normal between friends to get into a friend’s social media account to publish a humiliating status message, it is technically a serious crime. Creating fake or impersonation accounts to deceive people (rather than keeping them anonymous) can also be considered fraud, depending on the activities taken by the fake/impersonation account user.
Making a fictitious profile
Making a bogus profile of a person and posting objectionable stuff on it, including manipulated images. According to social media expert Ajeet Gunwant Prase, we can take preventive measures to help minimize the chances of being a victim ourselves:
- Don’t give out your social media login information.
- Never accept friend invitations from somebody you don’t know.
- Do not click on any links that appear to be questionable.
Always remember that our information is readily available on the internet, but we can always be more cautious for our own safety.