Social networking pranks: Privacy violation or a victory for street justice

Enab Baladi – Hussam al-Mahmoud

New video footage and live broadcasts of Syrian Yaman Najjar via social media platforms on issues that took a different turn and were relatively distant from those he had been dealing with in recent times showed his fragility.

The Syrian influencer’s new direction was urged not to publicize by those who were the subject of his shots, and Najjar promised to respond. However, tens of thousands of views on the YouTube platform, in addition to the already high views during the live broadcast via TikTok, the short-form video hosting service, suggested that audiences are uninterested in who Najjar’s pranks offended , which are usually streamed on social media.

The last two prank calls Najjar made with a cousin living outside of Syria and another with a young woman living in the war-torn country are missing the character “Lieutenant Bou Sakr” for which Najjar was famous. and is replaced by “Lieutenant Colonel Bou Talal” and “Lieutenant Colonel Bou Yarub” in a hypothetical military promotion made for himself by Najjar.

Najjar’s drift came with a change of themes and the move from what is general to what is relatively private and contrary to privacy standards that differ from one person to another, despite the agreement of the two cases to be separate from each other, about the need not to publish the prank – calls made with each of them and for all its reasons.

The problem is that in both cases Najjar’s contacts dealt with personal aspects of the other party, with Najjar appearing to be “joking” with his cousin in one case and “taking the role of judge” in the other. other prank calls.

Standards are “flexible”

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

At the same time, however, it is subject to priorities, as long as the response of social network services to issues related to terrorism and extremist ideology is not applied to social issues with the same seriousness, along with a blurry halo associated with the network and reading and Classifying content of the platform.

Enab Baladi contacted one of TikTok’s quality experts (who refused to publish his name for reasons of working conditions), and he confirmed that TikTok is not considered the most lenient in terms of privacy standards among social networking apps.

He explained that Facebook and Instagram are subject to more restrictions in Arab countries, which puts social networking services, which are a content viewing platform, ahead of the curve.

The standards also differ from country to country. For example, the user in a foreign country can delve into topics and provide content that could be blocked if the broadcast came from an Arab country, he 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 resolutely deals with issues such as terrorism, sexual content, child abuse, human and arms trafficking.

social harm

Safwan Moshli, social researcher, spoke Enab Baladi about the possible damage caused by the misuse of social networks and point out the possible social damage that negative dealings with topics of this kind can leave behind.

Moshli said: “Because of dictatorial regimes, Arab countries lack the concept of civil rights, so we do not know its dimensions and importance.”

But there are countries that are so sensitive that if governments and authorities illegally obtain incriminating information about an individual, the individual cannot be punished on that basis,” he added.

Regarding cases of data breaches based on what the offender sees as “obtaining a particular right,” Moshli said accountability here depends on whether the person violated a dominant social system in the interest of a warlike social system, such as . B. a publication offensive, for example, content that violates certain social values.

The researcher felt that what Yaman Najjar, for example, or any publisher of content of this type does, does not fall under the name of “street justice” because the term is imprecise overall.

“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 a group, whether by custom or law,” he adds.

Social Media Pranks

Some of the phone pranks perpetrated by Syrians like Maysoon Bayrakdar and Yaman Najjar against people associated with the Syrian regime are an attempt to “infiltrate the enemy,” depending on what the perpetrators of these pranks may see, but they violate the rights of others in any way.

Under new rules, these pranks will not be acceptable when Syrian society returns to stability, as the social norm and the regulating laws or laws in force at the time do not allow a person to practice them outside of exceptional circumstances.

Streaming such pranks on social media in this case is definitely not subject to the local system, but to the globalization system.

Just as one person publishes another person’s transgressions out of loyalty to “revolutionary values,” the other person publishes issues related to passion, marriage, etc., according to another system under construction, namely, “moral noncompliance.” which is not compatible with the local system in Syria.

For example, if a person receives information from someone who is insulting his wife and publishes the information under the pretext of defending and representing women within a traditional society, he will not find voices opposing this publication, since the violation is in the interest done what is desirable on a global scale.

This was announced by Turkey-based Syrian lawyer Hussam Sarhan Enab Baladi that all crimes involving means of communication fall under the heading of electronic crimes.

However, according to Sarhan, in these cases the decision is based on ijtihad (a legal term used to resolve a legal issue).

There are human rights trends that state that if the prank call did no harm then its release is not considered a crime, and the matter depends on the merits of the conversation that took place during it, and on that basis the crime and punishment are determined says Sarhan.

He added that publishing the call is not considered a crime unless it leads to a crime or crime and as long as it does not result in tangible harm, while other human rights organizations suggest it is considered a crime simply because of it violates the privacy of the other party.

Sarhan asserted that while such pranks are not socially unacceptable, the law can treat them on the basis “there is no crime without text,” regardless of societal acceptance or rejection.

Researcher Moshli believes that publishing in this case at least violates the values ​​of social honesty and cannot be compared to cases that famous people might face.

For example, a mere reference to these cases may be considered a criminal offense because, unlike the cases discussed, the subject relates to a public figure.

Youtuber Najjar has recently been in the spotlight and has been criticized by some people for releasing video footage of live broadcasts in which he contacted members of the regime’s security and police force, telling them about embezzlement and violations by the regime connected persons spoke regime.

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

Among the criticisms Najjar faced was a member of Air Force Intelligence threatening to arrest his family members before deleting the video recording.

Syrian actor Adnan Abu al-Shamat also attacked Najjar on Facebook for speaking about the suicide of the young woman who appeared in Najjar’s pranks, which the Youtuber denied in another broadcast on TikTok.