Online abuse of women driven by misogyny, apathetic policing of internet; time to look beyond legal recourse for solution

Misogyny has found a new platform. The barrage of trolls subjecting women to online abuse is a new menace which has reared its head in the aftermath of the social media explosion. An incident of online abuse is never a single incident. It is a form of violence against women which is recurring in nature. Not only that, the faceless trolls revel in the apathetic policing on the online space, where the focus area is on cyber-terrorism, and online abuse takes a backseat. The provisions of the Information Technology Act,…

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Time to revisit social media usage

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Between 1930 and 1931, while B. F. Skinner was a graduate student at Harvard University, he carried out an experiment on behaviour. A hungry rat was placed in a box with a lever in it. As the rat moved around the box, it accidentally knocked the lever and a food pellet dropped into the box. After a while, the rat learned to knock on the lever and obtain food. The experiment showed that when the rat got the same pellet each time, it only knocked on the lever when it…

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How social media helps build up caste aggression

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Two years ago, I was working in rural Bihar with a non-profit organisation and my local field workers as well as those who worked at the block level kept asking me about my real surname. When I didn’t reply even after repeated pestering they started asking my father’s name and it was not long before they connected the dots. Few days after they had confirmed my upper caste identity, they started adding me to WhatsApp groups exclusively for Brahmins. Some of these groups were local, some regional and some had…

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Social media and conservation: boon or bane?

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Social media has become a important tools to share information about wildlife. But it can go rogue too “I have given in to death but look closely at my beak. In it are the fruits I had collected for my love (mate) and the child I have not yet seen. Your mad rush has killed not one but three lives…, ” posted a distraught Baiju Vasudevan on Facebook last month. That morning, the birdwatcher had photographed a lifeless Malabar grey hornbill lying next to State Highway 21, which cuts through…

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