Foulplay in the New Age Web

General | April 1, 2006 | 1 min read

Newsvine recently had been seeded with reports that several profiles and objectionable content being removed from My Space. Many concerned parents also wrote in to express their fears. Although there were hints of paranoia, any service on the web is exploited, despite clear instructions on the web. It is not uncommon that most users fail to read, atleast a few lines of that “Terms and Conditions” before adding a tickmark in the Checkbox.

While the whole essence of new age web is Social Networking, Social Bookmarking, and requires an active participation from the users, it is of great importance to validate and verify the authenticity of the content that is being contributed to the web. Digital Signatures and Privacy Policies have no respect at all, for every user takes them for granted. But with something close to 250,000 users a day, it remains to be seen how this can be done.

Atleast to start with, the trustworthiness of any person can be established on how many people link to her in the case of Social Networking sites, based on the frequency of posting, based on how many people publish similar items. Something akin to PageRank. It is not an entirely fool-proof system , but can be done as a preliminary measure, for, this would atleast persuade a person from providing fake information. Much as Data Security is impotarnt, accuracy of information is important too. Wikipedia faced a similar problem.

No extreme measure can be done to check the authenticity too, for the entire world will then cry foul – as many already do with Google. That would be branded as a threat to privacy. So where do we strike the balance? Unless ofcourse, each contributor realizes the social responsibility and the ethics of the Virtual World.