Saturday, May 23, 2009

Side Effects of Social Media

Last night I saw on SCTV the Chairman of the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) i.e. Umar Shihab stating that Facebook is good because it enable people to conduct socialize with others, therefore in line with the Islamic rules. He also said that MUI has no plan to discuss about Facebook.

Shihab made the statement in the wake of the news reports that a certain Ulama organization in East Java has declared that Facebook and Friendster are Haram (forbidden) in East Java if they are used excessively for gossipping and flirting.

The above statement brings a relief for me because MUI as the highest Islamic Organization has realised abouth the true benefit that Facebook and other Social networking sites could bring to people in general and Moslems in particular. Although MUI's eddict/fatwa would not have legal impact, however it would have a social impact on Moslems who would think that it would be sinful not to obey the eddict/fact.

Fears on the side effects of Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter not only exist in Indonesia, but also in the U.S. According to Legal Blog Watch there were some cases of Defamation using Twitter. According to a lawyer i.e. Howard Price if an employee spreads Defamatory postings on the company's blog or Twitter account, it's not just the employee who face liability but the company may be liable as well.
The speed and fluidity of media like Twitter can also invite disclosure of trade secrets or classified information about a publicly traded company. Due to which fact the Securiy Exchange Commission (SEC) has provided guidance which makes clear that a company employee "speaking" in a company-sponsored interactive forum would not be deemed to be acting in an individual capacity. Thus, a company could not disclaim liability by arguing that the employee's communications were unauthorized.

As a Blogger and owner of accounts in Facebook and Twitter, the above made me more passionate in writing more things which would be informative and meaningful to others, but also more careful, so that my words would not annoy others, therefore peacefulness can be maintained.

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