Everything About Social Media & Internal Security(GS 3 Mains)2020-21


  • What is social media? 
  • Threat to national security
  • Opportunities to national security
  • Challenges in Monitoring Social Media
  • Way Forward
  • Conclusion

What is Social Media?

Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content sharing and collaboration. 

  • It is explained by a number of tools, which includes 
    • blogs, 
    • Wikis, 
    • discussion forums, 
    • micro-blogs, 
    • twitter, 
    • Micro-blogs, 
    • Trolls, 
    • Messengers, 
    • YouTube,  and 
    • social networking sites like Facebook 

Opportunities To National Security

  1. As a warning or trend prevention tool.
  2. As a monitoring tool, government can recognize first signs of any hostile or potentially dangerous activity to try to predict events.
  3. Creates cohesion between federal agencies by increasing both communication and transparency.
  4. Feedback from citizens regarding the status of law and order.


  • Social media is not security threat in itself but the users of these services can pose the threats by their anti-social endeavors.
  • With limited government oversight, industry standards or incentives to educate users on security, privacy and identity protection, users are exposed to identity theft and fraud. 
  • Additionally, these platforms have huge confidential user information and are likely vulnerable to outside or inside attack which is detrimental to Internal Security. 
  • CISCO 2013 Annual Security Report 🡪 the highest concentration of online security threats are on mass audience sites, including social media.

Threat to National Security

  1. World Economic Forum in its Global Risks 2013 Report 🡪 
    • Rapid spread of false information through social media is among the emerging risks .
    • Civil UnrestAnarchism & damage to socio politico fabric of India .
      • (e.g. 2012 – Rumours on Social Media w.r.t. Violence on North  East people 🡪 exodus from Banglore etc to home states.
      • Protests against nuclear power plants
      • Muzaffarnagar Communal Riots 2013 
      • Rohingyas crises in India and outside
      • Sabarimala Verdict, Cauvery verdict
  2. Attitudinal Change–  w.r.t. Family, nation, govt, corruption, institute own personality (prejudices)  e.g. promoting of cryptocurrency. 
  3. Virus attacks   Example- WannaCry attack, 2017.


  1. Cyber terrorism, cybercrime and cyber bullying Example- ISIS using social media to spread propaganda, promote activities, raise funds, recruit volunteers.
  2. Leakages of sensitive info 
    • Insider trading  🡪 threat to a company’s security because of what employees might disclose .
    • DRDO – Employee information-sharing regarding missile system.
    • Leakage of Border info 🡪 Pathankot attack (Geospatial information was leaked).
    • Stock market Manipulations
  3. Ethical & Moral dilemma 
    • Mix of private & public life 🡪 Political leaders/bureaucrats posts are trolled over their personal ideology🡪 e.g, recently one Bollywood director trolled, one IAS officer trolled.
    • Difficult to identify what is official & Un-official Difficult to identify what is official & Unofficial.
  4. Money laundering, Hawala & Ponzi schemes

Global threats Example- during Arab Spring various governments were threatened through social media.

  1. Questions regarding right to privacy, misuse of data and loopholes in legal regime needs to be navigated. (Data Privacy breaches– e.g. Facebook – Subvert democracy Cambridge Analytica case USA elections).

Challenges in Monitoring Social Media

  • No Control over Messaging Services. Example– WhatsApp End to End Encryption. 
  • Lack of Geographical Boundaries makes social media regulation an arduous task. 
  • External sourcing of hardware and software that make up the communications ecosystem.
  • Much of the infrastructure is in the hands of private companies thereby making the task of securing the networks complicated .
  • SC removed Sec 66A of IT Act to give more autonomy to Art. 19 but it may load to misuse by anti-social elements.

Way Forward

  1. Social media analysis generated intelligence or SOCMINT– to isolate hotspots or subjects that go viral and can be used as a predictive tool. 
      • Mumbai Police has launched a project called “Social Media Lab” on similar lines .
  2. Control over fake news by 
    • taking action and 
    • implementing self-regulation by media and registration of details of editors, publishers.
    • Community Policing 
  3. Implement Data Protection Law as recommended by BN Srikrishna committee.
  4. Control over WhatsApp by making Group admin responsible for fake information. 
  5. Awareness among youth on how to identify misinformation .
  6. Organisation ethics for corporate governance- 
    • No Monetisation 
    • No Compromise in individual privacy
    • Transparency about Data handling Mechanism
  1. Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 provides for digital mapping and safety of locational data. 
  2. Net neutrality to ensure no promotion for commercial interest.
  3. Fact-checking websites by independent agencies.
  4. Follow lines of Uganda, social media tax, for gossips and fake information.
  5. Implement and Institutionalise the Framework of Guidelines on social media engagement
  6. Re-haul legal regime- Focus on loop holes and censorship and privacy issues.
  7. Institutionalize the blueprint for a National Social Media Policy.
  8. Mandating foreign tech firms to set up data centres within India & nurturing indigenous firms.
  9. Govt to install filters & Control through DOT – Nic – Google to restrict undesirable content –CERT-In- Netra.
  10. Nations should negotiate w.r.t. Internet governance & partial govt control over it.
  11. Guidelines to curb the misuse of social media-
    • Develop open and agile cyber terrorism strategies and practices.
    • Governments must work with industry in aligning the national policy and strategic needs in engaging terrorism. 
    • Educating the public about the positive and negative aspects of social media.
    • Government should develop better surveillance system to immediately catch threats from social media platforms.

Draft Social Media RuleSocial Media & Internal Security


  • Need to formulate strict international law to restrict misuse of social media by terrorist groups. 
  • Conceptualizing policy and system designs at every level for adoption and use of social media for law enforcement and security while walking the tightrope on privacy concerns and balancing security imperatives.

Practice Question

While Social media is a potential threat to national security, it also offers the opportunity to strengthen National Security. Critically examine this statement. Give some implementable solutions to tackle the threats posed by social media in India. (10 Marks, 150 Words)      

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