ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Netizens and Fake Identity

with 6 comments

One of my old colleagues initiated a Facebook discussion. Somewhere along the discussion he took the liberty of deleting one of my comments. His justification was that he intended to maintain his profile, posts and comments in a particular manner to which my comment did not adhere to. Consider here that my comment was neither obscene, provocative or political. I contested that he was trying to create a fake online impression by censoring views of his friends on his profile. All I could do was to prohibit myself from any further comments on his posts.

Enough of the petty personal low down. The issue I want to raise here is related to the realism of online profiles and social networking sites. Internet is looked upon as a replica of the real world. An extension perhaps. We have created online profiles, shopping malls, entertainment media, social networks etc for us. Netizens have always maintained that online profile is nothing but an impression of the reality. However there has been a surge in the number of fake profiles recently. Authorities across the world are trying to find a way to handle it in the best possible way.

Consider a real life scenario. You are having a discussion with someone and he starts uttering indemnities. What do you do? You stop the discussion then and there and decide not to be friends with him/her anymore. You start a fist fight. You report him to the authorities. But can you erase/delete what has been said? Can you un-say it? In the online world it becomes possible. Exactly the point I want to make. Netizens are deviating from the rules, regulations for the citizens. The fact that facebook allows a person to delete a comment by someone on his/her profile makes it a fakebook. True that it is necessary sometimes to delete an obscene or filthy remark but who is to decide what is to be deleted?

One might contest, “Why is there a need for a Netizen to bide by the regulations for a Citizen?” He might be right today. But given that we are taking more and more of our lives online, it might not be the case in near future. Effective laws and stringent checks will guard the online world not very far from now. E-self would be forced to stay in line with real-self. It would be a matter of choice nomore. Infact, strict online laws are being debated at eminent forums. Maybe in the future, online profiles would require you to enter SSN (Social Secuirty Number), thereby eliminating the existence of fake profiles altogether.

Consider another scenario.  A travel agency creates a Facebook profile which brags about the services they provide. Someone who has employed their services in the past knows it to be a lie. He writes a comment on their page, stating the truth. The agency deletes the comment then and there. The page remains clean, thereby misguiding the junta. On the flip side, if they are not allowed to delete the comment then a rival company might post a fake derogatory comment. A Catch-22 situation.

What could the solution be? Nothing simple, I guess.

  1. One solution could be to delete from friend-list, who we feel is writing false or maligning comments. It would closely replicate real life scenario. We just end the friendship.
  2. We can avoid adding all and sundry to our friend-list. The lesser the better.
  3. Instead of delete comment, there could be a report abuse button for every post/comment. Though it would require more personnel to be employed by the networking site who would check whether it is really an abuse or not. This might again be contested.

If this too fails then there is always Mafia Wars to settle the scores.

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6 Responses

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  1. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian, iwspo.net

    DomoTohythigh

    May 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm

  2. An extension of this could be the abuse by media and the hot shots.. Am hence trying to wonder that why do some random posts on twitter create so much furore in our minds? Or is that the direction towards which the world is deviating: living in an imaginary state?

    aashish

    May 6, 2010 at 12:05 am

    • Yeah, media has always been such.
      In fact for someone in 80’s, we are already living in a post-modern world. But facebook/twitter is very powerful. Now there is no need to meet/live with someone, still u knwo what he is doing (at least what he is pretending to do). This pretention becomes a problem.

      arpitgarg

      May 6, 2010 at 8:08 pm

  3. I agree with your commentary. Generally speaking there is a a very different projection of the self on the Net. People get much cooler on the Net 🙂

    Nothing very wrong with that but I do strongly believe that it can never come any close to real life and real relationships.

    Internet is an escape route which is not necessairly a bad thing for people indulging in it but only sparingly.

    Rama

    May 4, 2010 at 11:29 am

    • “The escape route” seems to the apt description, something like the Alif Laila stories of the past. In fact today it is not just an escape route but serious business takes place there. And the false impressions can be harmful.

      arpitgarg

      May 4, 2010 at 11:37 am

      • And thanks for taking the time out to reply to my post.

        arpitgarg

        May 4, 2010 at 11:38 am


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