ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘online

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.

Jetlite: Love it or hate it, you can’t cancel it

with 7 comments

Recently, I booked a Jetlite fight online, from Katmandu to Delhi, for my CFA exam. A couple of days later a friend of mine found the same ticket cheaper by 1500 bucks. I checked and found it to be true. As a middle class baniya, first thought that came to my mind was to cancel the ticket and book it again. I mean, if “x” be the cancellation charge, it would still leave me with “1500-x”.

I typed in the url www.jetlite.com . I couldn’t find the link to reschedule or cancel. I was like stunned. I called up my friend. At first he thought I had made a mistake, “Come ‘on, how could there be no rescheduling or cancellation link. It would be there only. Check again”. I spent another 15-20 minutes going through each and every link on the webpage, but to no avail.

Not knowing what to do, I dialed up the help line number given on the website. After initial IVR reply, I was routed to the operator (after a substantial waiting, I must add). My worst fears came true when the lady replied, “No sir, you can’t reschedule or cancel the flight online. It can only be done telephonically”. Okay, the crude oil prices are all time high and aviation industry is reeling under heavy loss, but is this the way to avenge it?

Cancellation charges were 500 bucks. I asked them to cancel my ticket. They have informed me that my account would be credited in about 15 days. However when I booked again, the money was debited instantaneously.

For all those, who like me, have been left wondering, how to cancel the ticket, here are the numbers to Jetlite call centre, 1800 22 3020 / 3989 3333. For further inquiry click here . Happy Journey!

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