The dark side of social media4 min read 06 Aug 2013, 11:28 PM IST
The responsibility to make social media safer, more accountable must begin with denizens of that space who understand it best
On 11 June 2010, Brazil, home to a population that’s among the largest users of Twitter in the world, started a campaign—Cala a boca Galvao—advertising it prominently during the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup that year. This movement highlighted the near extinction of a rare Brazilian bird, the Galvao, and within three days the phrase became the top trending topic associated with the World Cup. Lady Gaga’s backing helped, as a song sung by her, Alejandro, had lyrics about the threat to the bird. The Brazilian best-selling author Paulo Coelho added that the phrase was also a homoeopathic medicine called “Silentium Galvanus". Wikipedia devoted two pages to the campaign. Within four days, millions across the world were sensitized to the plight of the Galvao. Tech pundits and environmentalists pitched in to laud the power of social media combined with an event like the World Cup to promote a noble cause.