In a sign indicative of the government's helplessness when it comes to the reining in of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, union law minister and senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid has said that social media is now a reality and had become a fact of life and not an 'embarrassment'.
"There are very restricted opportunities to impose constraints on social media,” union law minister Salman Khurshid admitted in Kolkata.
“The issue is not of embarrassment. The issue is that social media has become a reality and has become a fact of life", he said when told that social media like Facebook and Twitter were causing embarrassment to governments, particularly in the context of a recent controversy in West Bengal. "We have to take the social media in our stride. It has become a fact of life".
“There is no conflict between social media and us...but a lot of stuff said or shown is unwholesome for children and vulnerable sections of the society", he added.
Perhaps realising the value of the maxim “if you can’t beat them, join them”, the UPA government has embarked on a process of ramping up its presence on the social media circuit.
The PMO has taken the lead here by debuting on YouTube on April 10 after having started an account on social media microblogging site Twitter in January, just days after the appointment of TV journalist Pankaj Pachauri as the PM’s new communications advisor. Meanwhile plans are afoot to launch a Facebook account. According to sources, Pachauri’s mandate in PMO includes a focus on social media formats.
Interestingly, in January, the government had also set up a social media cell under the Press Information Bureau (PIB), the nodal agency to disseminate information to the media on public policies, comprising about 25 officials of the Indian Information Service.