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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Social media help feel public pulse, catch violators

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In the age of the Internet, a company’s popularity hinges on its activeness or the lack of it on social media. In the Sultanate, the government and private companies providing public services have reached a high level of public satisfaction by following or responding to complaints/ queries on social media. On the other hand, a number of cases were investigated by the Royal Oman Police (ROP), in which images and video clips shared on social media led to arrest of the accused.


A video clip showing two nationals stealing a donation box in front of a shop in Rustaq went viral recently. Within no time, the ROP nabbed them.


The clip helped ROP identify the bike used by the accused to escape from the crime spot. It’s a clear case of how social media has been effective in helping crack a case.


A few days ago, motorists shared video clips of car drifters on social media. The next day, ROP released photos showing cars seized and parked in front of a police station. The drivers were arrested.


Similarly, a number of government departments providing public services have a huge following on social media.


The Public Authority for Consumer Protection’s (PACP) Twitter account has 400,000 followers, said an official source. “This is a huge number. We receive many reports, complaints and suggestions through it. We have resolved many issues via social media,” the source said. He said a big team was handling the authority’s social media accounts. “It’s a very useful tool for tracking violators and raising public awareness.”


Haroun Juma, a resident of Muscat, said he was satisfied with the responses from the Muscat Municipality on social media. “I bring several issues to the notice of the Muscat Municipality and these are resolved quickly.”


He said all the government departments, especially those providing key services to the community, should consider using social media and having a full-fledged team to manage their accounts.


On the flip side, one should be careful when sharing some clips or images on social media. For, they could be used against them.


 


Fahad al Ghadani


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