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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Orkut Crazy! Should Internet be moderated?

When a Turkish software engineer Orkut Büyükkökten at Google created this social networking application, named after him only, Orkut was designed to help users meet new friends and maintain existing relationships. Orkut went a step further by permitting the creation of easy-to-setup simple forums called "communities."

There has recently been controversy revolving around the use of orkut by various hate groups. Virulent racists allegedly have a solid following there. Several hate communities focused on racism, Nazism, and white supremacy have been deleted due to guideline violation. However the number of these communities and profiles has not stopped growing because they can be very easily created and it is hard for orkut to check them. In India, Recent most was the ?We Hate India? community issue which got huge media attention. The Bombay High Court has issued notices to Google on some of the Hate India groups. Google is expected to file its response in the court very soon. Suing orkut is not the right thing as orkut is not a producer of information it merely provides a platform for people to network and exchange ideas. But, then the question arises, should there be any kind of moderation on such social networking sites and blogs? Some television channels like CNN-IBN ran long debate shows on the issue of moderating Orkut.

I think, as we move towards the web 2.0, which enables user generated content and networking, the role of administration and moderation becomes really important. There are many sites which can be named for facilitating things like piracy, spreading hatred on different grounds, and distributing pornography. But that should not mean we should sue them.

What we need includes better and capable cyber laws and law enforcement mechanism so that the content on such sites can be monitored and regulated to sufficient extent. Experts from this field should be involved so that more awareness regarding technology and its good use can be developed among common people. And most important is that the children must be taught the right uses of Internet in schools.

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