As some Indian states go to polls for assembly elections, the din is not just on the ground but online as well. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and his strategists are now being countered by Aam Aadmi Party and Congress in a war of tweets, and Facebook messages.
Amid all this came the news that Cobrapost.com, famous for sting stories, secretly filmed some information technology companies that agreed to slander online reputations of people for a price.
Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and his co-author Jared Cohen wrote in The New Digital Age this year that new businesses will emerge to defend online reputations. Clearly, the offence to justify that has already emerged and they are right on target!
Responding to the sting story, Facebook reiterated in India on Friday that it was cracking down on fake “Likes” on the social networking site by using automation to remove “Likes” on the social networking site that may have been gained in violation of its terms.
“A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one,” Facebook said, adding that real identities of both users and brands were vital for it help people and customers to connect authentically.
As Schmidt and Cohen repeatedly argue, the online world is not any different in intents. Only the methods vary. Be it elections or hatchet jobs, new technology is only a tool. What we can expect in the coming days is a new code of conduct, new regulation and new forms of policing to cope with new facets of old problems.
They still have to invent a technology that improves human character, it seems. Information technology and the Internet are across-the-board phenomena that touch almost all — and everybody needs to adapt to the change.