The Bangladesh government estimates that 80% of the total Internet population of Bangladesh use Facebook, and almost 60% are 13 to 22 years old. The Asia Internet Symposium Dhaka invited representatives from the government, businesses, civil society, academia and social media activists to deliberate on issues related to responsible use of social media in Bangladesh.
Abuse over social media is on the rise in Bangladesh. A recent number of incidents show fake account holders trolling other Internet users, uploading objectionable pictures and videos, and even posting hate messages. The Bangladesh Computer Security Incident Response Team (BD-CSIRT) is said to have received around 2,000 such complaints over the last 18 months. The symposium arranged discussions to find answers on:
- What should we be most concerned about when it comes to mistreatment of social media in Bangladesh?
- Are we doing enough to emphasize to the younger generation that using social media comes with great responsibility?
- How do we balance freedom of expression with spreading false information and abuse through social media channels?
- How do we educate the end-user, and what are the useful approaches to doing this?
Event speakers stressed the need to educate end-users on healthier and more constructive use of social media. This will help to address the growing problem of fake Facebook IDs used to damage personal lives, the role of public institutions in introducing policies promoting the effective and responsible use of social media, and greater consciousness among bloggers on how their postings might affect their readers. Some participants also noted that social media tools are so pervasive today that many individuals don’t even think before publishing or posting, with others noting that the moral and ethical use of social media is a collective responsibility.