If you have been on Facebook for the last three or four days, you would have probably seen an almost serious looking post or one of its many garbled variations shared as someone’s Facebook status.
Here is a screen grab of one of the versions:
Various versions of this status have popped up on since 2012, which are just elaborate hoaxes that have plagued the social-network site for years, and you too might have seen them on your FB pages from time to time.
Do you think copying and posting such a short note that seems to contain complicated and official legalese will protect the privacy and confidentiality of your Facebook account from that moment onwards and privatize the photos and videos you post?
In reality, posting such status on your Facebook page will not change any privacy rules.
If you think that posting such a status on your Facebook page is the right thing to do, then why are you still posting photos and other items on Facebook under your banner? Would it not be better to deactivate your account?
Remember that social media is not the place for “private and confidential” information. If you do not give permission to use your pictures, etc., how would Facebook show them to your friends?
Facebook addressed the rumours years ago in a fact-checking blog post about the change related to ownership of users’ information or content they post to the site.
Copyright Meme Spreading on Facebook
There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been.
“Facebook is a contemporary form of idleness and I have witnessed its being the conduit of anxiety and even enmity, forging ethereal friendships and trading real and imagined slights. Facebook’s interactions go from trivia to paranoia.” – Farrukh Dhondy in “Cabbages & Kings: Hacked off” (Published in Deccan Chronicle)
Before the advent of the Internet, whenever I met someone for the first time, that person would ask me for my phone number, but now, people do not bother about telephone numbers, instead they ask me if I am on Facebook (FB).
Yes, I am on Facebook. I have two groups of friends: “My Family and Family Friends” and “My Computer Students, other Student Friends and colleagues”.
There are 180 members in the first group and 266 members in the second group.
I do not believe in having thousands of unknown people as friends, who comment with trivial phrases such as “He he he”, “Good morning”, etc., and are interested in knowing what cine and TV actors like to eat for breakfast or where and with whom they slept the previous night.
Though I choose my friends, I do err sometimes.
I am now 73-years-old and value what little bit of my time I have still to live. I really get annoyed when some come to chat online without any purpose and waste my time. Here is a brief chat I had with a so-called ‘friend’ a few days ago:
So called friend: sir neenga enga work panuringa (Sir where do you work)
What do you think I gained from this conversation?
In the first instance, I okayed this young person, about 50 years younger than myself, to be my friend on FB for the main reason he had studied in 2008 in one of the schools I taught. Also, he had studied in the same college that I studied. Now, after this frivolous chat I have earmarked this person as a candidate to be deleted from my list of friends on Facebook.
Recently, Indian born Satya Nadella was promoted to the post of CEO of Microsoft. While both traditional and social media are abuzz ith debates, consequences,factors, pride and puns, we join the bandwagon with a slightly hypothetical route:
What if, instead of Satya Nadella, ‘aam aadmi’ Arvind Kejriwal was made the CEO of Microsoft?
These 15 disasters will strike Windows users worldwide.
On February 13, 2014, I posted an article titled “Price of Petrol Around the World!” Some of my readers wanted to know about the price of diesel in India and in other countries around the world.
The above graph shows the price of diesel in India from September, 2012 to February, 2014 with the average value during this period was र57.89 with a minimum of र53.46 in September, 2012 and a maximum of र64.49 in June, 2013.
Compared to the average price of diesel in the world, India is relatively cheaper. Diesel in India is 32% cheaper than the world average of र85.63. The average price of diesel around the world in February, 2014 is र82.41 per liter. Though all countries have access to the same petroleum prices of international markets, they impose various taxes on petroleum products and offer subsidies. Hence, the retail price of diesel differs substantially among countries.
As a general rule, countries that produce and export oil sell diesel to their nationals at much lower prices while rich countries charge higher prices. However, the economically advanced United States have a comparatively low price of diesel – $1.03 (र64.49) per liter.
In Venezuela, the government subsidizes gasoline and the Venezuelans pay almost nothing to drive their vehicles at $0.01 (र0.85) per liter.
Diesel prices around the world in February 2014
I came across the above picture posted on Facebook. Any rational thinker would surely realize that the aim of the person who originally posted this rubbish was to mislead gullible Indians and malign the powers that currently rule the country.
A few Indians have the false notion that whatever appears in the social media or get printed in the traditional media such as newspapers and magazines is the gospel truth, and to keep up with the Joneses they just copy it on their social media pages without delving into the truth. Do you think these prices are correct? The person who prepared this falsehood needs some coaching in basic arithmetic. Just look at this:
11.80 + 9.75 + 4 + 8 = 33.55%
33.55% of र16.5 is र5.5275
र16.5 + र5.5275 = र22.0275
How did this person arrive at the figure of र50.05? Did he leave out any tax or other levies?
The above graph shows the price of petrol in India from September, 2012 to February, 2014 with the average value during this period was र80.75 with a minimum of र73.82 in November, 2013 and a maximum of र89.94 in September, 2012.
Compared to the average price of petrol in the world, India is relatively cheaper. Petrol in India is 15% cheaper than the world average of र95.18. The average price of petrol around the world in February, 2014 is र90. 67 per liter.Though all countries have access to the same petroleum prices of international markets, they impose various taxes on petroleum products and offer subsidies. Hence, the retail price of petrol differs substantially among countries.
As a general rule, countries that produce and export oil sell petrol to their nationals at much lower prices while rich countries charge higher prices. However, the economically advanced United States have a comparatively low price of gasoline – $0.88 (र55. 15) per liter.
In Venezuela, the government subsidizes gasoline and the Venezuelans pay almost nothing to drive their cars at $0.03 (र1.70) per liter.
Gasoline Prices around the world in February 2014 (Source: globalpetrolprices.com)
Earlier on January 8, 2013, the SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS posted the article titled “The Punjab Rape Festival In India Begins This Week“. The NATIONAL REPORT just copied that article word-for-word. The only change was in the title – the Indian state “Assam” was substituted in lieu of “Punjab” to read: “The Assam Rape Festival In India Begins This Week.“
The article claiming a non-existent, wishful (in the mind of the author) vulgar event taking place in India was a spoof by a person writing under the pseudonym Jimmy Rustling.
The social media was abuzz with reactions to the article. So far, it has been shared more than 312,000 times on Facebook and around 3,000 times on Twitter. It has besmirched the image of Assam and has sparked widespread protests in the state.
The article does not display any disclaimer saying it is a spoof. However, there is a general Disclaimer page on the NATIONAL REPORT website:
DISCLAIMER: National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental . The views expressed by writers on this site are theirs alone and are not reflective of the fine journalistic and editorial integrity of National Report. Advice given is NOT to be construed as professional. If you are in need of professional help (and you may be if you are on this page), please consult a professional. National Report is intended for a mature audience and not for children under the age of 18.
Linked to the “Rape Festival” articles in SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS and NATIONAL REPORT is a common website Giveindia.org that looks like a genuine Indian website seeking donations for the welfare of Indian women.
At the end of the article there is the following statement:
For more information about the festival or if you would like to participate, please call the 24-hour India Rape Festival hotline at (785) 273-0325.
I googled and found that the given hot line number (785) 273-0325 belongs to Fred W. Phelps Sr., an American pastor heading the Westboro Baptist Church, an independent Baptist church based in Topeka, Kansas in 1955. Address: Westboro Baptist Church, Address: 3701 SW 12th St, Topeka, KS 66604, United States.
According to Phelps, basically everyone, who isn’t a part of their “religion” and “church” is doomed and will go to hell.
Phelps’ group protests all over the United States at Gay funerals and Soldiers funerals. The first Amendment under the U.S. Constitution protects them to do these despicable hate acts.
Although the “church” started as only hating “fags” they have now moved on to hate Australians, Canadians, Jews, Swedish, and even the Amish. To picket hey use signs such as: “God Hates Fags“, “Fags Hate God“, “America Is Doomed“, “Soldiers Die God Laughs“, “Thank God for 9/11“, etc.
Many people in USA, India and other countries believed the contents of the article as a true fact even though no such festival exists or existed in any part of India. And the article was widely shared even now via social media. It has been blindly copied and posted in sundry websites around the world without verifying the facts, thereby tarnishing the image of India.
Here is an example of this spurious, apocryphal copying:
On November 6, 2013, Patricia Kahill, posted the article verbatim without verifying facts in UGOnews with the following introduction:
Reports from National Report say that this week in Indian men readied themselves to begin celebrating the annual Assam Rape festival. This festival sees that every unmarried girl between the age of 7-16 who has not been hidden is raped. (sic)
This article published in UGOnews evoked many scathing comments. I have reproduced some of them here:
Prashant Moni · Textiles It is very sad that some mentally sick peoples are publishing the scenario of a region in a very bad manner. To be make clear that there is NO ANY SUCH FESTIVAL in Assam or even in any other region in India. This is nothing but an output of mentally sick person (s). (sic)
Rajeev Gohain · J.B College, Jorhat What a rubbish story. The picture is from a festival from Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu is lakhs km far. The names are not Assamese. The creator of this story is that the psychic who is dreaming about this type of festival , so that he also can go and participate it.. I am requesting to whole the world not to believe this type of fake story, but come and enjoy a beautiful green Assam famous for One horned Rhino and Tea.
Ashish Das · Online Entrepreneur and Blogger Stupid website… research before publishing.
Manashwi Sharma · Student This is absolutely NOT TRUE. There is no such freaking festival celebrated in Assam or in any part of India. I Request everyone NOT TO BELIEVE whatever is written on this website. This is totally a FALSE NEWS.
Prasanta Dutta · Guwahati College I am from Assam and 33 year’s old, Its a is totally a Stupid news. Women is always respected in Assam more than other part of the world. (sic)
Sukanya Goswami · Dibrugarh University this is unacceptable!!! shame on your mentality!!! u people published such a wrong thing about a region without knowing any thing!!! shame on u!!!! go and research before doing such stupid things!!!! u people dont knw any thing ,never heard about assam and but ready to publish nonsense about it!!! stupid website!!!! (sic)
Shreeja V Shetty · Software Tester at GlowTouch Technologies Well this news is surely not true. India is a lovely country. But action should be taken on the one who wrote this! So that nobody repeats such nonsense again!
Lekha Borah · Works at Working as a Freelance Photographer Want to make it clear that there is no this kind of \\”DIRTY FESTIVAL IN ASSAM”// or in INDIA. This is nothing but a fake RUMOUR of some mentally sick persons.Very sad and very shameful thing happened made by psycho people. (sic)
Slickèr Qalie Ndlovu · Member, Organisation of African Youth (Zimbabwe) people stop lying please (sic)
Last week we reported about the Assam rape festival a controversial and satire story that was first published by National Report a USA based website, lead to a number of comments on our site from the Indian community.
According to Lets Gist the point of the story was activism, to educate people about what is going on in India on a daily basis, because a lot of people don’t know.
Hindustan Times received a statement from Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam immediately that said:
“the fraudulent and extremely unethical article about the completely fictitious festival is an act of serious disrespect and total disregard shown towards the humble and unsuspecting people of our beautiful state of Assam. The writer of such a piece of pure evil is not fit for human society.”
Bharat Narah, press adviser to Gogoi, told Gulf News:
“The Assam Rape Festival article is not at all humorous. It is distasteful, unethical, abominable, despicable and must be abhorred by all sections of society. We have taken up a suo moto case against the website and the author of the piece. It is a highly sensitive matter which cannot be ignored. We are assessing all our options and are in touch with the Cyber Cell of the Police Department.
Regardless of race, culture, or nationality, any decent and moral person should be offended by this filth. Media plays a very critical role in forming opinions. If media will start acting so naively, then the responsibility of spreading information through media should be taken away. We Indians know that this news is totally fake, but people in other parts of the world are getting the wrong message about our nation. This mischief by the media should be dealt with very strictly.“
The comment by Nancy Powell, US ambassador to India, when she addressed the students of Xavier Institute of Social Science (XISS) in Ranchi, on November 19, 2013, is an epiphany for the state of affairs now prevailing in India.
When a student asked: “Why aren’t American students coming to India for studies?”
She replied: “The concern for personal security and perceived increased danger to women as a result of the rape cases was perhaps a factor in US students’ decision regarding study in India.”
Since January 2013, this article, camouflaged as a news item, circulated through blogs, email, and social media. Its claim that the tradition of the Punjab Rape Festival dates back to 43 BC is utter nonsense. Factually, there is no such event as the Punjab Rape Festival. The story was simply concocted by the psychotic Jimmy Rustling.
This obviously false story caused a great deal of apprehension and dismay after it spread through the media. Not realizing that there is no such event and never ever was, many decried the imaginary event and wanted it stopped.
The comments for the post “The Punjab Rape Festival In India Begins This Week” show that the average follower of SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS is an ignoramus who could be manipulated to believe any unauthenticated absurd news, as he would when he reads the religious scriptures, mainly because it is in print.
As usual, pranksters too joined in and added fuel by defending the festival and stating they were looking forward to participating in the hypothetical event.
Sarab H: This is so messed up! I demand justice!
M Shelat: I agree. Something needs to be done to stop this!
Mark Dauglas Znenitz: I would go to this festival. Probably not participate but I would go
Eva Monreli: They are not even considering that one can get viral diseases (Like AIDS)from these people. This should be stopped!
Holly Marys: I have many many many MANY demons in me that need uncorking. May I, as an American and not Punjabi, participate so that I may perhaps be rid of my demons once and for all?
Catherine: Sick people! This is 2013 for God’s sake. Stop these archaic Men form doing injustice to the girl child.
Sharell Cook, an Australian traveller researching distinctive cultures from her early 20s, initially visited India in the year 2000 and found it a total assault on her senses, confronting, but then oddly inspiring and captivating. Even today, this impression about India has not changed. Even now, Sharell is residing in cosmopolitan Mumbai where she writes full-time while learning Hindi. This is her impression about the Allahabad Maha Kumbh Mela:
“The Kumbh Mela in India is as mesmerizing as it is spiritual. This ancient northern Indian festival is a meeting of mystical minds. The largest religious gathering in the world, the Kumbh Mela brings Hindu holy men together to discuss their faith and disseminate information about their religion. It’s attended by millions of people each day.”
Many Indians living in the United States called for the removal of the article from the website and wanted authorities to take punitive action against the author and the website that published it.
In late January 2013, the writer responding to the angry calls posted the following message on his Facebook Page:
I’ve been getting emails from people saying that I should remove my story entitled, “The Punjab Rape Festival In India Begins This Week.”
The point of the story was an activism piece to educate people about what is going on over there on a daily basis, because a lot of people don’t know. I read everything I can get my hands on and every day there’s another story about another horrible rape or murder of a young girl in India…. usually where the guy gets off, not being punished, or worse, where the victim is forced to marry her attacker.
So I wrote up the most exaggerated, ridiculous thing I could think of… it gets people to pass around the story and then question what’s going on over there if they didn’t already know. A simple Google search of “Punjab rape” brings up 100+ different stories of young girls getting raped, murdered, forced to marry the man who raped them… it’s disgusting.
Anyway, that’s the point of the story and I’m not pulling the article.
In an email to hoax-slayer.com the author wrote:
One of the other MAJOR factors for doing the story was collecting money for the women of India for schooling, clothes, help in leaving abusive situations. So, a few months ago I added this to the bottom of the story:
WANT TO HELP THE WOMEN IN INDIA? THEN DO SOMETHING! Click here to learn more.
I checked out that charity thoroughly. They are 100% legit giving 90-95% of collected funds to the cause.
Once again the stupid readers of this post came out with absurdities:
Sarah H: They give awards to men in India for raping woman? WOW.
Samantha: This is just disgusting! They don’t arrest them for rape but they give them awards??? SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT THIS!
Lena: Govt must come forward to support RAPE FESTIVAL. This is the only world class entertainment ,where every one love to participate. Tourist visits to India ,will generate collosal amount for the nation. Allow everyone to participate,give them FREE CHANCE to win award. GOVT must provide FREE VISA Access. Let people of the world to enjoy and feel free to taste of RAPE. RAPE reduces heat,its good for health and for the growth of man kind. C.M needs to be changed,since he wants to snatch this freedom from people of punjab, which is against the will of the nation. Democracy in India should not tarnished at any cost.
Readers of SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS made these comments despite the following image posted proudly on its site on the page “Super Official Awards.”
The name Jim Rustling is the pseudonym of an author named Paul Horner, a Staff Writer for NATIONAL REPORT who claims to have won numerous awards for journalism including a Peabody Award and a Pulitzer Prize.
How authentic are the writings of Jimmy Rustling a.k.a. Paul Horner?
I understand that “Fred Dursk” is another pseudonym of Paul Horner. Now, I wonder how many other pseudonyms this person has, and whether the name “Paul Horner” itself is real, or is it another pseudonym of some other person hiding behind these names.
A disclaimer right at the bottom of the posts in SUPER OFFICIAL NEWS reads as follows:
Disclaimer: Lulz killing of any kind will not be tolerated. If you are being a buzzkill, your comment can be altered or deleted. This entire site is pretty much just a resume containing a collection of my writings and such for the off chance that someone like The Onion or The Daily Show ever happens to stop by. Until then just remember, if it’s on the internet it must be true.
New research shows Facebook has lost a total of eleven million users, nine million in the US and two million in Britain. Researchers at the University of Vienna analyzed 600 users and found they quit for the following reasons:
Privacy concerns – 48.3 percent
General dissatisfaction – 13.5 percent
Shallow conversations – 12.6 percent
Fear of becoming addicted – 6 percent
Studies show the majority of users that quit the site were older males.
Facebook, among other tech giants, have been repeatedly under scrutiny for their lack of user privacy, including turning over thousands of user’s info to the government. In August, Infowars revealed Facebook submitted information on approximately 38,000 users in 74 countries during the first half of 2013.
Over half of the requests originated from inside of the United States. Tech giants are unable to reveal absolute numbers on how many requests they’ve submitted to because the government prohibits them from doing so. However, companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo have formed a unique alliance and are fighting back.
The tech alliance is putting pressure on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court by filing motions asking to publicly disclose more details about secret national intelligence requests, instead of just releasing approximations.
“We believe there is more information that the public deserves to know, and that would help foster an informed debate about whether government security programs adequately balance privacy interests when attempting to keep the public safe,” said Facebook’s general counsel Colin Stretch.
“Editor of the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking which published the findings, said: ‘Given high profile stories such as WikiLeaks and the recent NSA surveillance reports, individual citizens are becoming increasingly more wary of cyber-related privacy concerns,’” reported Mail Online.
Facebook has also been under close examination for their recently updated “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities” policy which states users’ profile data including their profile picture, name and personal information “could show up as part of a Facebook ad their friends may see on the site,” according to a report by Mashable.
Even more controversy surrounded the social media giant when they announced the update of the “Tag Suggest” feature, which would allow facial recognition technology “to speed up the process of ‘tagging’ friends and acquaintances who appear in photos posed on the network,” reported Reuters.
As you can see, users’ concerns over privacy, or lack thereof, are certainly substantiated. However, if your information isn’t being collected through Facebook, NSA’s spy program, PRISM, is sure to scoop up your info in some other way, most likely through email or cellular data.
I have repeatedly said in my posts on my website “Impressions ~ of what comes to my mind” and in my Facebook page not to believe everything posted on social media websites such as Facebook. Here is one such post with dubious information that is going viral on the social media:
The above message that I came across recently on Facebook was an outcome of the Delhi gang rape of December 16, 2012 that incited people nationwide, from every strata of our civil society, to demand for strict anti-rape laws. Everyone started exploring the existing laws for punishing the rapists under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Currently, a flood of Short Message Service (SMS) and social medium posts carrying information about a “new anti-rape law” being passed are misguiding people, despite the disclaim by legal professionals and members of the judiciary to the contrary. Even educated folk presume that it is their bounden duty to circulate these erroneous messages to all their friends thinking that it is a major development with the country’s leaders finally caring about the female population in our society.
This Section 233 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860 has nothing to do with “Rape”. In fact, it deals with counterfeiting coins. It states:
Making or selling instrument for counterfeiting coin.– Whoever makes or mends, or performs any part of the process of making or mending, or buys, sells or disposes of, any die or instrument, for the purpose of being used, or knowing or having reason to believe that it is intended to be used, for the purpose of counterfeiting coin, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extended to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.