Facebook (fb) – a common household name. You may not know what’s a computer, what’s internet, what’s social networking, what’s http, what’s url, what’s website; but you certainly know what’s fb. Everyone, from kids to teens to adults to olds, knows about fb. Over one billion people have an fb account & most people spend more than 50% of the day on fb. It’s really difficult for many fb addicts to spend a minute without fb. Fb is now more than a social networking site.

Fb is now more than a social networking site. It now became the basis of life for many. It has turned to a virtual world.  Over the time, fb met with many controversies. In many nations, it’s banned. It’s blocked intermittently in Republic of China, Iran, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Syria, Bangladesh for different reasons including religious issues & posting of offensive contents. Many concerned parents don’t allow their children to access fb. Fb is also a place for hackers. Many fb accounts are hacked; & offensive & violent contents are posted creating much confusion. Also the posting of violent contents has been reasons for many riots, including recent Kokrajhar riot in India (Assam). (Micro-blogging site Twitter was also responsible for this case).

Many think that fb is not a safe place to roam around. Over the time, it’s been suggested that fb should be banned. Some suggest that children shouldn’t be allowed to access fb. Fb now turned to matter of debates & discussions. So, does fb need to increase security to have a control over what its users do?

Well, here, I’m not going to list the controversies of fb or how is it affecting negatively. You better visit this Wikipedia page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Fb. But, here, I’ll discuss if fb needs to take some actions to prevent all these cases & make it safer for coming generations.

As the controversies are rising, Facebook Inc. is getting more & more problems in handling these cases. Though the positivity & negativity of any thing is dependent on its use, it’s now true that fb is no safer due to its misuses. Also people’s view toward fb is getting negative. Fb has been a place of illegal, offensive, inflammatory contents; some of which gave rise to riots & disputes. Terrorists & enemy countries can use fb to give rise to disputes & wars. Many hackers (both professional & amateur) hack others accounts & post illegal contents on their behalf which lead to misunderstandings. At a glance, illegal posting by users made fb unsafe. So what should they do to avoid this?

As fb is now more than a website, it’s important to implement tough rules & regulations in order to prevent illegal activities. This is the only way to prevent what’s happening in fb. If someone does a crime by using fb, then he/she would be punished according to current judicial system. But the changes should be made in monitoring these illegal activities & the actions taken against those users. So, let’s list what should they do?

  • First & foremost, Facebook Inc. should declare a constitution having all the laws, rules & regulations.
  • Then, they should appoint special teams of experts to monitor users’ activities. They can also use advanced software programs for this purpose. Tracking software should be used which can track offensive words in order to find such contents.
  • Identity proofs should be made mandatory for creating accounts. This would ensure that no fake account is created & also users will not be able to post any illegal contents.
  • License should be issued for creating fb accounts so that only licensee can create accounts.
  • Users who post illegal, violent & offensive contents or bully others; should be given strict warning against it & Facebook Inc. should have the authority to delete such contents. In case, the user repeats such activities, his/her fb account should be deactivated & license should be suspended.
  • Facebook Inc. should increase security such that accounts can’t be hacked. Very strict actions must be taken against hacking.
  • Cyber security should be increased by governments in order to prevent cyber-crimes. New strict & rigid laws should be drafted along with strict implementation of these laws.
  • Cyber-crimes should be made equivalent to other crimes.

At least, these are the minimum thing that Facebook Inc. & government can do. It’s very important to increase security & implement new laws in order to prevent these cases. Also, cyber-crime & cyber security should be added in curriculum. It’s also the responsibility of parents to teach their children what should be done & what’s not in internet. It should be noted that though I’ve talked about the security of fb, there’s nothing like these are only about fb. As fb has been a topic of controversies & it’s the largest social networking site till date, I’ve used fb as an example. But all these things are meant for other sites too, especially social networking sites. Micro-blogging site Twitter, & search giant Google, should also take the same actions in order to prevent illegal activities. The situation of Twitter is as same as fb. Google is a search engine. It enables users to search webpages. So Google is not responsible for any illegal contents in websites. But in order to prevent these illegal activities, Google can specially search such pages, & block them so that they’re inaccessible. If & only if special actions are taken, we can reduce illegal activities from internet & make it safer. The security system of other websites should also be increased so that hacking is not possible. Governments should also take special actions in order to make things safer. It may result in some loses for these companies, but it’s something that is very important to do. It’s also making people feel that internet is unsafe, which is actually not the case. It’s only the users’ activities which is making it unsafe. So actions should be taken at any cost.

Although security must be increased, it’s also important that internet must be free & independent. The independence of Twitter made Arab Uprising possible.  So every step should be taken with proper decisions & planning & by keeping everything into mind.

 Copyright©2011-12 Sandeep Deva Misra

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