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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Criticism on Community Website Piles-up. Valid or just BS?

Wired News has a story about My Space which places the community site under attack from schools, parents, politicians, and media:,70254-0.html?tw=rss.index

However is it really the fault of My Space or it’s an inevitable consequence of Web 2.0? Let’s take a step back and look at the greater picture.

The new dot net boom has forced  information to travel faster than ever, technology for aggregation such as RSS, Atom, XML-RPC, SOAP and many more enables almost instantaneous replication and distribution of information; information that can be the truth or half-lies. We have to admit Internet was only meant to free the exchange of information but determining truth on every information that passes thru this medium is incalculable, if not a form of censorship.

Censorship comes in many forms, the most common is in form of laws that prohibit certain information to be published or disseminated on certain areas; using this definition we may say firewalls, ad blockers, spam filters, and even anti-viruses are also forms of censorship. However these types of censorship are mostly welcomed by users since they filter out the most probable false information; or do they? How about people that welcome Ads being sent to them? Some spam do offer valid services and promotions, unfortunately to weed them out from bogus emails that only wishes to drive traffic to a certain site is still not fool-proof. Topic about quantifying useful information and unwanted spam is out of scope for this discussion so we will leave that for a while.

Let’s go back to the case of community sites in question now that we have a background on the issue.

For cases of fake profiles and misinformation being uploaded thru these sites — does these warrants a censorship against these sites? This issue is BS, community sites like My Space are purely for entertainment and does not have the authority to authenticate user’s identity in anyway. So why the concern about other users pretending to be someone else? Maybe its just some sectors of media and politics cashing in into the ignorance of some people and the paranoia of patents for the safety of their children. Remember the market for parents wanting the best care for their children is a million dollar industry, from baby care, nutrition, to schooling, to quacks teaching parents how to be better parents. Now we see where the fuss is all from.



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