Stories about Facebook

Is Sarahah just another way to put people in their place, without telling them it’s you who has done so?

It feels as though nothing under the sun will ever be new again. The movies are all sequels or reboots, the series all follow similar story arcs and the tech world is glutted with the same kind of boring distractions. The latest fad on our smartphones is a ‘new’ anonymous messaging application called Sarahah, and it promises nothing more. One makes an account, posts the link onto various social media websites that one is in the habit of using, such as Facebook, and your ‘friends’ can send you anonymous messages. Sarahah is essentially an honesty app that gives people the courage to ...

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Dear sexist men, your privileged gender is not an outcome of your “biological” qualities, but of social conditioning

Recently, I wrote an article based on two recent videos which went viral. The main idea behind the article was to showcase two outstanding individuals who challenged gender stereotypes instead of conforming to society’s prescribed gender roles, going on to live their individual dreams. For me, these individuals are heroes and, in fact, trailblazers as they have challenged socially constructed stereotypes. These stereotypes play a large role in determining what is expected of men and women from society. By spelling out these expectations and enforcing them through upbringing and cultural norms, men and women are often regimented into different roles and hence, destinies. These different roles also largely account ...

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No, Nawaz Sharif must not be allowed to complete his term, if democracy is to prevail

(This article is intended as a rebuttal to the blog titled “Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good.”) I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when this article caught my eye. With the wave of antagonism and criticism of Nawaz Sharif that has swept social media following the release of the infamous so-called joint inverstigation report (JIT), it is always interesting to see pockets of support for the embattled prime minister pop up every now and then. However, to my surprise, the article advocated allowing Nawaz to remain in office. Not out of political allegiance, but based on the ...

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Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good

The earliest memory of television I have is Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I don’t recall what happened on TV afterwards or how things got there, but I vaguely remember Nawaz Sharif’s sombre looking face on the television set in our living room a year later. Nawaz was prime minister. That’s all I was old enough to understand. Then one day he wasn’t. I was in grade three and apparently a new federal election was taking place. I recognised no one except Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz when they were on television or the newspaper. Who was my family voting for? I had no idea, but ...

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Why Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is a slap on the faces of Palestinian girls in Gaza

This past week, viewers from all across the globe flocked to their nearby cinemas to catch the first female superhero movie, Wonder Woman. People leaving the cinema published accounts of inspiration and motivation. Some even spoke of a rekindled sense of purpose and drive in their individual feminism.  Yet in the same news cycle, you could also find a piece or two decrying some ban on this blockbuster placed by Lebanon and then followed by a suspension in Tunisia and Algeria. Naturally, as every ban does, it piqued the reader’s interest. After all, what would the Lebanese, Algerians or the Tunisians have against women empowerment? It made little sense until you opened the closet and ...

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After all, Kabul is no Manchester, and the media and world’s reaction proved it

At some level, I do understand why no Facebook profile picture filters appeared or why no hashtags dominated the social media landscape after a bombing in Kabul or Baghdad. It is assumed that cities like these must be acclimatised to the reign of terror; to towering plumes of smoke; to children’s blood being spilled on the city’s pavements; and to mangled corpses strewn on the dirty streets. It is assumed that they must be used to mothers wailing in a strange cacophony; to rundown ambulances whirring past shocked onlookers, who in turn are used to their unacknowledged existence; and used to the ...

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Why people today depend on lazy virtual friendships and Facebook ‘likes’

As I grow older, I’ve realised that one genuine friend matters more than the amount of friends you have. Real friendships, sincere ones, make all the difference to our lives. However, I’ve realised that these kinds of friendships are so rare these days. The concept of friendship itself has fizzled into something fickle and surface-based. I know that I have an x amount of friends on Facebook, an x amount of followers on Instagram, but barely any of those people can be classified as true friends. What does one mean by sincere and genuine friendships?  These are the friends that you call at ...

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When they sold my pain for their gains

My scars were still fresh. One could see blood oozing out of my fresh and painful wounds. These wounds are what my age-old enemy bestowed me with. My enemy has got numerous weapons, some pierced through me, while some made numerous holes in my body. Holes may fade away, injuries may heal. But what was done to me, to my inner world, will never fade away. It will never heal. My wounds were still afresh; they smelled like agony. I was withering with pain while my family members decided to hold a grand party and enthral their guests with entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. ...

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That time a mental health professional tried to gaslight me

It takes a lot of courage to see a mental health professional. When you enter that room for a one-on-one discussion with your therapist and open up about your burdens, you leave yourself vulnerable. Whenever someone approaches me about mental health issues, and I recommend they see a counsellor, I tell them that the first step is the absolute hardest. But when you schedule that appointment and somehow make it to the rendezvous, and find it in yourself to let your guard down, you cross the biggest and toughest hurdle on the road to better mental health. Of course, this process ...

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Facebook: It’s high time you control hate speech in languages other than English!

The increased role of social media recently has been fundamental in guiding social debates and forming narratives of people at large. It has posed many challenges in different parts of the world. On one hand, there are autocratic governments trying to ban Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp while on the other, there is a scuffle between law enforcement authorities and the social media giants over the demand to hand over a user’s data. The revolutionary rise of social media owing to its widespread popularity has also brought a range of issues to our already polarised society, one of them being the evolution of hard-core Islamists. The Urdu content on social media ...

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