Rattled by the “misuse” of social media, the Union government is planning to evolve a parallel system to keep watch on activities on the Internet. Officials said a huge gathering was mobilised for the Patel agitation in Gujarat by messages circulated through social networking sites and mobile applications.
All government departments may be asked to follow the External Affairs Ministry’s model on ways to be a “social media success”. In the works is a “24x7 situation room” to analyse social media content and generate social media intelligence. Through it, the government aims to build a “counter-narrative” in real time to ensure that “credible information is disseminated”.
Such a set-up — the New Media Wing — exists in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
Home Ministry to head situation room
The “24x7 situation room” could be a collaborative initiative of six or seven Ministries but headed by the Home Ministry. A similar set-up — the New Media Wing — in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry generates social media reports and sends it to top bureaucrats twice a day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the most followed personalities on Twitter, with 14.6 million followers on Wednesday.
The current agitation by the Patel community in Gujarat was mobilised with the help of the social media. Around half-a-million people from the Patel community gathered at the Gujarat University grounds in Ahmedabad on Tuesday, where their leader Hardik Patel addressed them.
“Social media is actively being used by terrorist groups to recruit young men across the globe,” said a senior government official.