Digital Slavery
Life & Culture Politics & Economy

Have we finally become digital slaves?

Addiction to social media is creating digital slaves who can’t think for themselves. Still, social media is thriving. You can’t delete Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the likes from your phones. They are getting even more popular.

A growing number of people are now relying on the social media network to run their businesses. Many others are using them for news and opinion.

For scores the social media is a medium now, to stay in touch with family and friends. Few others are even addicted to the social media, opening up one of the platforms on their mobiles every now and then.

At the same time, there are arguments against the social media as the campaigners like DeleteFacebook ones feel the digital interconnections are misuse of time and squandering of resources.

Such argumentative pointers suggest that social media is turning human beings into digital slaves. Their rejoinders to every social media enthusiast end with a question – Aren’t we feeling isolated and becoming angrier in the digital world?

They may be true to some extent as four in ten people have indeed quit one or the other social media networks at least once, ever since they started using them.

But, then, most quitters and deleters often return to their accounts or at times create a pseudo account to keep track of the social media trends to stay alive, digitally.

There is also a huge army of inactive users who do not care much about their social media profiles and updates once they sign up for a mere presence.

What about the concerns that arise amidst revelations such as political data firm Cambridge Analytica harvesting data from more than 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge?

When such digital accidents occur, there is alarm all over. Tons of essays are written, inquiries are ordered. And then, another shocking security breach occurs exposing not one but 50 million accounts.

Social Media Digital Slavery

We have changed as people

How long have you been on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram or Snapchat and the likes? On which occasion(s) did you feel that your data, privacy, security were in danger? What steps did you take to keep yourself safe?

Your answer might not be convincing and there are chances that you do not bother for your data, privacy and online safety. So precise is the process of transformations that make active people inactive by turning them into digital slaves.

How social is social media

Life as it stands, people have moved on from social networks and community associations to digital groups where each one of them is classified according to daily online usage.

Try leaving any such digital group by rebelling against the surveillance you are being subjected to, and you will find yourself a loner. Why – because social media is a vital part of everyday life now.

Social media is as valuable to you as you are to the social media. You see information on the social media, you find news on social networks, you get unusual bonding on one of the social media platforms.

In return, you give them away your vital data, for free, hardly realising that data is costlier than oil.

To this, Simon Rogerson, Professor Emeritus in Computer Ethics and former Director of the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility at De Montfort University, UK, says – “We are digital beings who live in data repositories and travel along the conduits of data communication.”

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms’. Today that must include both physical slavery and digital slavery,” he adds.

Prof Simon says, digital slavery exists, unrecognised, unnoticed, unfettered, and, in many cases, unconsciously supported and promoted.

“Governments, for example, with the creation of biometric identification, have created the shackles of slavery. Digital beings are traded online as owners try to maximise market share and increase profit. Such trading is unacceptable and contravenes human rights,” he says.


Food For Thought: Do you get free food or extraordinary service at a business establishment just like that? Don’t you part with your name, date of birth, mobile number, email id and addresses in the bargain? Aren’t you thus opening yourself to receiving information from companies about their products you never inquired about! Check yourself when it becomes too tempting for you to sign a form – on paper or online.

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