A BBC news report recently said, citing a research result that the number of young Facebook users has declined. But I suppose this is true only in the Western countries. Nepal’s contextual reality might be different. Facebook users in this country may have hit the highest ever mark, I suppose. People are postponing the purchase of expensive vegetables to save for an Internet account recharge card so that they could sit glued to the Facebook for hours turning oblivious to what is happening around.
Everyone knows that he or she will become like a fish without water if the Wi-fi turns off due to power outage or the mobile phone runs out of the account money. You are going to miss so many Likes, comments, appreciations, notifications and messages within an hour. Posting and sharing of incredible videos, friendship requests, Like requests, video calls, live photo updates, status updates - there is so much to be glued to and scan. One who has no time to attend a hungry baby or needy marital partner devotes achours on Facebook.
It breaks the latest news, takes one down the memory lanes through posting of old photos and refreshes a bond with a long forgotten friend. It criticises the leaders and the government for failing to live up to the expectations of the voters. It provides a forum to appreciate bold and innovative ministers like Lalbabu Pandit, Gagan Thapa, Janardan Sharma and Gokarna Bista. This has also become a wall to vent ire and frustration against injustice and wrongdoings. It can disseminate messages, images and videos to millions of connected members within a short time. It brings out things in the open that used to lie hidden before the arrival of this medium. Things are no longer a secret.
Information comes directly from the horse’s mouth and complaints are shared from the suffering victims. If they are not doctored through Photoshop and deceiving tools, images in the Facebook bring to light the unreported reality of the world. If the materials are not manipulated to cheat and mislead, which many users do, the Facebook can act as the mirror of the society more strongly than the traditional media. However, this forum has also emerged as a place to spread hate and torment the mind. The challenge is how to control and discourage the abhorrent side of this wonderful site. Without a legal tool to tame it, the Facebook may provide breeding ground for obscenity, horror, defamation and crime.
Anomalous, condemnable and disgusting elements do creep in when Facebook users are least expecting them. This is a grim reality that made Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg furnish his replies to the US Congressional hearing. The side effects, both positive and negative, can be personal, inter-personal, social, cultural and political, and they may spill across national borders. Like myself, many people may have mixed feelings about Facebook. Sometimes you are impressed by its speed to get important message across while at other times, you feel like closing the account and stay away from the disgusting digital trash.