Misuse of social media during a global pandemic.
By: Shubhankar Roy
Covid-19’s Impact on Society
Covid-19 was one of the most unanticipated and horrific disasters we’ve seen this century. A crumbling economy, along with a lack of infrastructure in health and safety also limited our capability to respond adeptly to the disaster. To top it all India faced the migrant labour crisis in 2020 with thousands of workers losing their lives due to hunger, poverty, and finally…the virus itself.
As a community, it was our moral obligation to support the destitute and uplight the downtrodden. Many NGOs’, philanthropists, corporations, and government organizations came forward and did their best to help and support the burdened citizens of our country. On the other hand, there were (still are) individuals who completely exploited the desperate and profited from it.
As healthcare struggled to establish a strong foothold amidst the pandemic, fraudsters, scammers, and thugs did their best to capitalize from the fear of the pandemic on social media by selling toxic and potentially harmful products and spreading misinformation about the virus in order to “mint greens” and take advantage of the situation.
During the lockdown, people were heavily reliant on social media for mental, emotional, and informational support. However, misinformation and propaganda were running rampant on social media – potentially more harmful and toxic than the virus itself.
Misuse of Social Media in Various Sectors
Politicians, businessmen, aristocrats, and even medical experts were indulging their superfluous need to profit from the pandemic by adding a price tag to safety itself and selling it loose on social media with a false pretence of hope and temporary comfort.
Undoubtedly, the worst of the lot were the “know it all” social media influencers with their primitive knowledge in healthcare and their flamboyant attitude. In spite of the more logical answer – which would be to consult a medical expert – people fell into the trap of believing the self-proclaimed influencers and their complacent behaviour.
In retrospect of the social media disaster that took place last year, one wonders if the pandemic would leave fewer wounds if people on social media would have been more empathetic and less profit-oriented. The pandemic was an uncontrollable outburst that took us all by surprise, but the constant need for attention and profits were mistakes that could have been avoided if people were more considerate of the needy.