By Nirant Kasliwal:
With over 7.8 crore active users in India alone, Facebook is the most popular online communication tool. It is popular and addictive. On the other side of the coin, lies what it hides — a gruesome tale of corruption. Its sins speak of a sordid tale of stifling opinions, information and lack of concern for its users. Its crimes warn of us how a select group of power hungry individuals wish to harm the free speech spirit of the Internet. What are its crimes?
To begin with, Facebook is accused of removing any content that it deems offensive. Facebook has declared a decency policy too, but it doesn’t apply to itself it seems. Photos that show an exposed breast violate Facebook’s decency code, even when the baby covered the nipple. These are removed straightaway. On the other hand, it took several days to respond to criticism and deactivate a paid advertisement for a dating service that used a photo of a topless model. The mention of phrases ‘double standards’ and ‘modern fascism’ would seem appropriate here.
Cyber-bullying is probably the tip of Zuckerberg’s sins. Facebook is known to change its terms of service without informing any of its million users. Thanks to these changes, it had legal rights over everything you publish on Facebook for a few weeks. It also often changes privacy controls without mention or intimation. For instance, ‘Friends of Friends’ was a term it used to describe the reach of content. Today, it’s either ‘Public’ or ‘Friends’. What happened to all those posts you marked ‘Friends of Friends’? No one knows.
Facebook also sides with Governments and its power-corrupted agents. In 2010, a number of Facebook groups and content against the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) were removed without any reason. The DAB is one of the largest pro-Beijing political parties in Hong Kong. Back in India, it keeps removing content against the political parties and their scions. On the same while, it accepts ads of frauds like the IIPM.
Censorship, cyber-bullying and double standard rules are just some accusations. The one deserving most attention among these is probably the giant’s displeasure for its user privacy. Facebook has also been allowing US Government via its NSA’s PRISM programme to snoop on data. The US Government has access to data of not only its citizens but also yours. A powerful individual or organisation has information about habits and secrets of their competitors. They can use them to malign their rival’s image in public. They can monitor the activities of journalists that write freely and intimidate them to withhold information and opinion. This list is both scary and endless. It is an infinite nightmare of murdering freedom of speech.
In the Information century, the relevant point is, ultimately this leads to censorship and manipulation of information. This, in turn, would enable a particular set of people who have access to this information to have absolute power. History testifies to the fact that ‘absolute power corrupts, absolutely.’ The common people don’t get to know what is happening and ultimately get fooled and this gradually develops into an oppressed society.
Ask yourself, “Is Facebook a true champion of freedom as it claims, or just a reckless profit making entity?“
Do you, still trust Facebook?