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HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

In the 21st century social media has been the game changing phenomenon within communication. It opened an ocean of free information, just a click away. More often than not, it is the first source of information we consume when we wake up and the last information we consume before we go to sleep. People of all ages are using social media, no matter how little they know about the online world. According to statistics, 96% of Millenials have already joined social networks. But do we ever ask ourselves: how much do we actually know about social media?

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written even before computers were around, everyone has a right to privacy. It also applies to every user on every social media network. However, users are not aware that their private information is accessible to an overwhelming number of people. While clicking “I agree” on terms and conditions without even reading them, users innocently share private information  to a world wide audience. The violation of their rights through cyber-bullying presents one of the key problems relating to social media security and the protection of users’ privacy.

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Internet censorship puts restrictions on what information can be publicized or viewed on the Internet. Governments and other organizations commonly use internet censorship to block access to copyrighted information as well as to harmful or sensitive content. Many countries restrict access to content on the Internet on some level. Even the United States has laws that impact the kind of information you can access on the Internet in a school or public library. Some countries go much further than that and a few don't allow any access to the Internet at all. With China being one of them. Since it has been criticized various times for their censorship on Chinese and English content.

As a result of numerous violations of fundamental human rights in the virtual world, the United Nations has taken ‘serious’ actions in order to combat this issue. During the 38th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva a new resolution on internet human rights has been presented and adopted. The resolution primarily focuses on cybersecurity and online censorship owing to recent controversial legal actions and social media restrictions. Even though the UN and national governments have continually been trying to improve the present state of affairs, data breaches, online manipulations and infringements of human rights still occur on social media platforms.

Moreover, United Nations  High Commissioner for Human Rights has marked digital gender divide as one of  the rapidly growing problems. Women in developing nations are nearly 25% less likely to be on the internet and social media than men. This inhibits their ability to fully connect to the rest of the world and other global communities.

In conclusion, we ought to persist in our determination  to get to the bottom of this complex matter, which is rather intensely taking over our focus and limiting the extent of our privacy while making us perceive human rights in a different manner.

We encourage our delegates to use critical thinking techniques and be as responsive as possible when asking the following questions:

* Having discussed the lack of confidence people have concerning cyber security,
what is the first step we should take in order to improve current position we find ourselves in?

* People who engage in social media activities ought to be fully aware of the risk they are taking when it comes to possible invasions of their privacy.
How carefully do we choose content before it is publicly shared?

* Reflect on your experiences. Was there ever a time your human rights were violated online?

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