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Communications of the ACM

India Region Special Section: Big trends

The Positive and Negative Effects of Social Media in India

individual near 'Danger No Selfie Zone' sign

Credit: Filip Jedraszak / Shutterstock

There has been a phenomenal increase in the use of online social media (OSM) services in India, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. In addition to these services, one-to-one messaging services like WhatsApp have 200 million users, the highest in the world. India has 462 million users accessing the Internet, among these: Facebook has 250+ million users, LinkedIn 42+ million, and Twitter 23+ million users, and the majority of users access these services through their mobile phones.

These services have had a profound impact in India—overall digital literacy has increased, people are more connected, dissemination of local language content has increased, information exchanged during crises is substantial, and more. The deep penetration of social media services also has negative effects—the propagation of false information and hate, an increase in spammers and phishers, users are losing social skills, and more. Newness of technology/mobile phones, low-literacy rates, and cheaper mobile data rates are cited as negative impacts of social media services on society.


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