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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Controversy courts controversy – Facebook & Salman Rushdie.

It would sure rank as one of the most used applications on computer – millions wake up and stay through out the day on ‘FB’ – Facebook – the social networking site.  On Feb 22 this year, an Egyptian baby was named ‘facebook’ to commemorate the vital role of the social media in the National revolution.

Most likely you would have a FB account, for which an e-mail ID is a prerequisite.  FB is a  social networking service and Web site  founded by Mark Zuckerberg, launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc.  Now there reportedly are more than 800 million active users.  Users have to register before using the site, then one can create a Personal profile, add known (and unknown) as friends, exchange messages, post personal messages, add photos, have notifications of what they are doing… in simple terms while away time reading about others and stating unwanted details of self.  In olden days, students used to collect and exchange information of their classmates on the day of leaving college, which most likely may not be updated  - and when friends meet after long years, there would be so much to share of those things that happened in between.  The one primary restriction for entering FB is 13 years of age – but there would be millions (that includes the few of your family members) who have fudged age but are active users of FB.

Often there are battles and there has been one on name…. the controversial writer’s full name is Ahmed Salman Rushdie and he claims that he has won a battle with Facebook over what to call himself on his profile page on the social network.  Reportedly, his  dispute with Facebook began after he asked to be allowed to use his middle name Salman - the one he is known by across the world.
But Facebook, which has strict real name policies, had insisted on Ahmed - the novelist's first name.   Rushdie says Facebook has "buckled" after he began tweeting about the row.   The British Indian author twittered  "Victory! #Facebook has buckled! I'm Salman Rushdie again.   Reportedly the social site even deactivated his account over the weekend "saying they didn't believe  it was him’.  Then Rushdie had to send a photo of his passport to Facebook, which led to the reactivation of his account - but only as "Ahmed Rushdie".  He angrily twittered that FB is forcing him to change from Salman to Ahmed Rushdie.  A number of Rushdie's followers retweeted his posts and shortly afterwards Facebook changed his account to Salman Rushdie.

Elsewhere last week, FB users  reportedly were flooded with very graphic images depicting pornography, acts of violence.  Members were complaining that their accounts had been hacked and obscene messages and photos posted in their name.  It was a spam spreading at a faster pace and many were worried.  People are concerned that they would all their respect when such messages are posted as if posted by them.  It’s not clear who is behind the attacks,  and no hacker group has claimed responsibility.   

Incidents such as these show how vulnerable and open such social networking sites are… for many no damage done..  if only this was a Govt Dept.,  the Ministry would have blamed the foreign hand or would have stated that the damages are much less than what was suffered elsewhere. 

It is better to have a fortified PW and not to accept requests of totally strangers………

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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