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Abuse and misuse of social media is detrimental to repute and credibility
August 4, 2013, 4:54 pm
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An Asian woman cried treacherous and offensive after friends and family members informed that her driving license was posted on the social media wall of a certain local organization petitioning for help and assistance against her addressed to an embassy.  The picture of the driving license was posted with her full details that caused alarm, concern and fear of her personal security by her families and next of kin. In such harsh situation, the Asian woman who calls herself a victim of cyber bullying posted via comments of readers and viewers have further resulted to retaliation and may cause further damage to both parties.

In an interview with the Asian woman, she said that her family members who are based overseas have called and informed that her driving license was fully posted in the social media wall with tag line petition by a certain individual asking for help addressed to an embassy for assistance to acquire her husband’s money from the Asian woman who promised to arrange her visa in Kuwait.  The acquisition of driving license details was vague and unclear as to how it ended on the hands of the organization but the Asian woman reiterated that an individual bearing personal grudges has orchestrated the whole scenario. Many viewers and members of the commentaries have literally pointed finger at the Asian woman who have not been given the chance to air her side nor consulted since she is in the country and have not left. Few however sympathized with the Asian woman who now questions the social media’s lack of supervision and lax policies that can cause detrimental effect on victims that include both the petitioner and Asian woman.

Kuwait News Agency published; “In Kuwait social media is growingly gaining ground in media scene. Social networking sites have become a major source of news and important player in the political scene and that Twitter tops the list of most influential media sites in the political street.  Social media refers to so-called Web 2.0 technology that doesn't merely present information, but that allows for user-generated content and community interactivity. The most important and wide-spread social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google+.  There are over 1.3 million active Twitter users in Arab countries. Kuwait leads the way in Twitter penetration in Arab nations at eight percent, ahead of Bahrain at four percent, Qatar at two percent, the UAE at two percent and Saudi Arabia at one percent. Kuwait sent almost 60 million tweets in March, 2012 (source: AllTwitter).  Experts also added that successful social media marketing maximizes customer engagement to foster a sense of community and increase traffic.

The experts, however, warned that users have to take into account the disadvantages and negative impact of social media.  In spite of its huge advantages, social media has some disadvantages including the use of these sites to damage reputation of innocent people, spread rumors or extremist ideas or law-breaching materials, Political Analyst Ibrahim Dashti told KUNA.  Legal expert and lawyer Mariam Al-Bahr echoed a similar view.

 "A huge number of law suits have been filed against Twitter users in Kuwait recently for offending religion and political leadership." She also raised alarm that posts on social networking sites were the cause of a considerable number of family disputes in the past years. Social media has not known just a platform for easy and simple advanced online marketing but it has become a revolution of our century. Many people are using different social networking sites and some have tried to capture its importance but they do not know about its advantages and disadvantages.”, KUNA published.

On the other hand hubpages.com published the advantages and disadvantages of social media such include; Brings people together, Provides breadth of knowledge, Technological literacy, Opportunity to widen business and attracts attention while disadvantages include;  Understanding on how it works - one need to understand how social media works, when and how to use it and which channels to focus on depending on ones end goal of using social media in order to get its full effects, Commits illegal crime - Social media may open possibility for hackers to commit illegal crime such as fraud, spam and virus attacks. People falling prey to online scam may also increase, resulting in data or identity theft, Viral social disadvantage - This may damage one’s reputation. The wrong online brand strategy could put one on this, Negative effects on worker productivity -Results in lost productivity and employees may use social media to attack the company’s reputation. Instead of working in their time of work, they can waste such valuable time using social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. This may result in negative comments from employees about the company or potential legal consequences if employees use these sites to view objectionable, illicit or offensive material, Distraction - Most people who suffer from this are students. Instead of doing their home works they tend to fail their academic endeavors because of using social media in the wrong way, Serious detrimental outcomes on individual’s health - When social media is used in a wrong way, it may have a negative effect on both mental and physical health of individual.

According to a recent survey from Lawyers.com, less than half of individuals using social media believe their social media activity can be held against them in court. Among the survey’s findings are less than 50 percent of social media users believe their postings can be held against them in court, younger people are savvier on this topic, nearly twice as likely to believe their social media postings can be used against them in court: 60 percent of Facebook users aged 18-34 versus just 33 percent of Facebook users 55 years and older, A higher income means a greater belief that one’s social media postings can be used in court: Facebook saw 41 percent of those with a annual household incomes under $25,000 believing their postings could be used against them compared to 60 percent of Facebook users with a incomes greater than $75,000 per year.

Not surprising, more educated social media users were more likely to believe their postings could be used against them. Of those who believed they were legally accountable for their posts, 39 percent of Facebook users with a high school degree or less versus 64 percent of Facebook users who had a college degree or higher.

Photo shows grab of the driving license of Asian woman posted in social wall recently.

By Ricky Laxa
Staff Writer
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