Social media in Manipur has become a battleground for narratives, with different groups using it to shape public opinion on a range of issues, including the ongoing conflict between the Indian government and insurgent groups.
One example of this is the case of Phijam Hemanjit and Hijam Linthoingambi, two young men who went missing in September 2023.
Two images of the two men, depicted as dead, went viral on social media, sparking outrage and protests against the Indian security forces.
The Indian government denied any involvement in their deaths, but the images continued to circulate widely on social media, fueling anger and resentment among many Manipuris.
Another example is the use of social media to spread misinformation and propaganda.
Insurgent groups often use social media to spread their own version of events, while the Indian government has also been accused of using social media to spread fake news and propaganda.
The narrative battle on social media in Manipur has had a significant impact on public opinion.
It has made it more difficult for people to get accurate information about what is happening in the state, and it has contributed to the polarization of society.
Here are some of the ways that social media is being used in the narrative battle in Manipur:
Spreading misinformation and propaganda:
Insurgent groups and the Indian government have both been accused of using social media to spread misinformation and propaganda.
This can make it difficult for people to get accurate information about what is happening in the state and can contribute to the polarization of society.
Framing the conflict:
Social media is also being used to frame the conflict in Manipur in different ways. Insurgent groups often portray themselves as fighting for the liberation of Manipur, while the Indian government portrays them as terrorists. These different framings can have a significant impact on public opinion.
Social media is also being used to build support for different groups and causes in Manipur. Insurgent groups use social media to connect with their supporters and to promote their ideology.
The Indian government also uses social media to connect with the public and to promote its policies.
Recruiting new members:
Social media is also being used to recruit new members to different groups and causes in Manipur. Insurgent groups use social media to target young people and to convince them to join their cause.
The Indian security forces also use social media to recruit new members.
The narrative battle on social media in Manipur is a complex one, with different groups using it to shape public opinion in their favor.
It is important to be aware of the different ways that social media is being used in the state and to be critical of the information that you see on social media.