Social Media Jokes: A Violation Of Privacy Or A Victory For Street Justice

Enab Baladi-Hussam al-Mahmoud

New video recordings and live broadcasts made by the Syrian Yaman Najjar through social networks, with topics that took a different turn, relatively removed from those he dealt with in the last period, revealed his fragility.

The Syrian influencer’s new management received requests not to post from those who were the subject of his recordings, and Najjar vowed to respond. However, tens of thousands of views on the YouTube platform, in addition to the already high views during the live stream via TikTok, the short-form video hosting service, indicated that the audience is not interested in who is offended with Najjar’s prank calls. , which are usually broadcast on social media.

In the last two prank calls that Najjar made with a cousin residing outside Syria and another with a young woman residing inside the war-torn country, the character “Lieutenant Bou Sakr” for which Najjar was famous is absent and replaced by “Lieutenant Colonel Bou Talal” and “Lieutenant Colonel Bou Yarub”, in a hypothetical promotion in military rank that Najjar made.

Najjar’s drift came with a change in topics and a transition from the general to the relatively private and which contradicts privacy standards that differ from one person to another, despite the agreement of the two cases, separately, on the need to don’t post the joke. -calls that had been made with each of them, and for all their reasons.

The point is that Najjar’s contacts in both cases concerned personal aspects of the other party, in one of which Najjar appeared to be “joking” with his cousin, and in the other “assuming the role of judge” in the other prank call.

Standards are “flexible”

Despite the difference in the measurement of personal space between individuals, there are common and specific standards set by social media platforms in this regard.

But at the same time, it is subject to priorities, as long as the response of social networking services to issues involving terrorism and extremist ideology does not apply with the same gravity to social issues, along with a hazy halo associated with it. to network. and content reading and classification platform.

Enab Baladi reached out to one of TikTok’s quality experts (who declined to release his name due to considerations related to working conditions) and confirmed that TikTok is not considered the most lenient regarding privacy standards among social media apps .

He explained that Facebook and Instagram are subject to greater restrictions in Arab countries, which puts in comparison to social networking services that constitute a platform to display content.

The standards also differ from country to country. The user in a foreign country, for example, can delve into topics and provide content that could be blocked if broadcast from an Arab country, she added.

Regarding the common red lines between these platforms, the quality expert pointed out that there is a long list for TikTok, but it is internal, but at the same time it deals firmly with issues of terrorism, sexual content, child abuse and human rights. and arms trafficking.

social damage

Safwan Moshli, a social researcher, spoke with Enab Baladi about the potential damage caused by the misuse of social networks, pointing out the potential social damage left by negative treatment with issues of this type.

Moshli said: “Arab countries lack the concept of civil rights due to dictatorial regimes, so we don’t know its dimensions and importance.”

But there are countries that are so sensitive to that that if governments and authorities illegally obtain incriminating information about a person, that person cannot be punished based on that,” he added.

Analyzing cases of privacy violations on the basis of “achieving a specific right,” as seen by the offender, Moshli said accountability here depends on whether the person violated a prevailing social system in the interest of a social system belligerent, such as posting offensive content. content, for example, that violates certain social values.

The researcher considered that what Yaman Najjar is doing, for example, or any content editor of this type, does not fall under the name of “street justice” because the term as a whole is inaccurate.

“There is no justice without law or custom, and even custom requires specialists in its application, and no individual has the right to judge an individual or group, whether by custom or by law,” it adds.

jokes on social media

Some of the prank calls made by Syrians, such as Maysoon Bayrakdar and Yaman Najjar, against people affiliated with the Syrian regime are an attempt to “infiltrate the enemy”, as far as the perpetrators of those pranks can see, but are not a violation of rights from others in some way.

Under the new rules, these pranks will not be acceptable if Syrian society returns to stability because the social norm and regulatory laws, or those that will be in force at that time, will not allow a person to practice them outside of exceptional circumstances.

The transmission of such pranks on social networks in this case is definitely not subject to the local system but to the globalization system.

Just as one person publishes the violations of another out of loyalty to “revolutionary values”, the other person publishes topics related to passion, marriage, etc., according to another system that is being formed, which is “moral non-compliance”. which is inconsistent with the local system in Syria.

For example, if a person obtains information from another that is offending his wife and publishes the information under the pretext of defending and advocating for women within a traditional society, he will not find voices opposing this publication, since rape it came in the interest of what is desirable on a global level.

Turkey-based Syrian lawyer Hussam Sarhan said Enab Baladi that all crimes related to the media fall under the heading of electronic crimes.

However, the ruling in these cases is based on Ijtihad (a legal term for finding a solution to a legal issue), according to Sarhan.

There are currents of human rights that say that if the phone call prank did not cause harm, its publication is not considered a crime, and the matter depends on the merits of the conversation that took place during it, and based on that, the crime and the punishment are determined, says Sarhan.

It added that posting the summons is not considered a crime unless it leads to the occurrence of a felony or criminal offense, and as long as it does not result in tangible harm, while other human rights bodies suggest it is considered a crime simply because violates the privacy of the other party.

Sarhan said that while these types of jokes are not socially unacceptable, the law can deal with them on the basis that “there is no crime without text”, regardless of social acceptance and rejection.

Researcher Moshli believes that posting, in this case, violates the values ​​of social honesty, at the very least, and cannot be compared to the cases to which celebrities may be exposed.

For example, the mere insinuation of such cases can be considered a crime, since the subject is related to a public figure, unlike the cases under discussion.

Youtuber Najjar was recently in the spotlight and has been criticized by some for posting video recordings of livestreaming sessions, during which he contacted members of the regime’s security and police, during which they spoke about embezzlement and violations by figures affiliated with the regime.

Najjar also said in a live broadcast that he called the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, through a Russian number for the latter, who quickly hung up the line without confirming or denying that the recipient of the call was Bashar al-Assad. Assad. Asad.

Among the criticism Najjar faced was a threat from an Air Force Intelligence member to arrest his family members before he deleted the video recording.

Likewise, the Syrian actor Adnan Abu al-Shamat attacked Najjar on Facebook for talking about the suicide of the young woman who appeared in Najjar’s jokes, which the youtuber denied in another transmission via TikTok.

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