Saturday January 19, 2019
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Aircel, Jio, or Facebook: Will the Giants be Accountable?

For many such businesses, Guidelines, goodwill, and integrity are only the initial eyewash to climb the ladder of material success.

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Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019, the WIRED reported. Pixabay

by Salil Gewali

It quite seems that the Mobile company Aircel has taken off to Malaysia with its booty. No wonder, with a crafty shuffle of the legal papers this company successfully got itself declared bankrupt in India. Very understandable, Anil Ambani received first the big blow of Jio Mobile and now Aircel.  Do you know, till some days back Aircel was making its last-ditch efforts to loot the extra penny from the unsuspecting consumers? Even I got tempted and recharged my sim card with Rs 399 rupees as the plan was for 84 days. But I could use the service for not more than 15 days. Will the company “refund” my money, and also the money it has pinched from the lakhs of other customers like me? In this age of capitalism, by mere declaring bankruptcy/innocence, the company can be absolved from all of its sins. How is it morally acceptable and justified? Is it not the travesty of business integrity? Now we can’t overlook how Aircel customers are suffering in order to port out from Aircel to other service providers. Since the service has been suspended the customers are feeling rudderless, moving from the pillar to post, to restore the service through other companies.

Anil Ambani
“They are not just beggars, but in some cases,  they are like “robbers” because they disappear for good without refunding the poor customers’ hard-earned money”. Wikimedia Commons

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Moreover, how is the company bankrupt? How on earth it’s owner – Ananda Krishnan (partner being Mr. Raja Arshad…), one of the richest businessmen in Malaysia, having multi companies including media, oil, gas, and properties, is insolvent? No, not at all. His other business sectors are minting money like anything. But why is he not bothering to return back the customers’ money from the income of other sources? One angry customer from Police Bazar remarks – “Such companies’ owners are high-tech beggars with the digital pots in their hands because we are asked us to pay them online, lol!”.  But, instantly his another friend corrected, “They are not just beggars, but in some cases,  they are like “robbers” because they disappear for good without refunding the poor customers’ hard-earned money”.

Yes, for money and to fulfill their desire to amass wealth these incredibly rich people can go to an incredible extent. Guidelines, goodwill, and integrity are only the initial eyewash to climb the ladder of material success. These business virtues and ethics might be just junked away like the garbage if something goes amiss and the profit graph falls.

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What about the super-rich Mark Zuckerberg? Is he content with his vast fortunes? He is virtually not. Wikimedia Commons

Does Anil Ambani not owe each of us money which we trustingly pay to his Reliance Communication? Please tell me if Ambani has refunded any of the customers’ money and also the security deposits to the tune of corers? So far not. Because rich men do not fear God, they usually fear less-money-in-their wallets.

What about the super-rich Mark Zuckerberg? Is he content with his vast fortunes? He is virtually not. So, his Facebook has other wings that shake hands with the depraved company like “Cambridge Analytica”.  They use our personal data as ingredients to cook up the dishes that sells in the black market.   What is most bizarre is that we still call such people great men and we idolize them without sense and without shame? But I myself prefer to call them cheaters, frauds and uncouth brutes. They are never sent to the jail, so they keep playing “golf” with the virtues of humanity.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali. 

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Social Networking Giant Facebook Testing ‘LOL’ App to Woo Kids

Facebook has over 2.2 billion users globally, including 300 million in India

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Facebook testing 'LOL' app to woo kids, experts wary. Pixabay

In a fresh attempt to woo children into joining its network and boost user growth, Facebook is testing a new hub called “LOL” that will let kids share and post humorous meme content.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch late Friday that it was experimenting with the “LOL” hub for kids. “We are running a small scale test and the concept is in the early stages right now,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Divided into categories like “For You”, “Animals”, “Fails” and “Pranks”, “LoL” will be a special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips.

The company is yet to decide if “LOL” will become a stand-alone app or be available in the main Facebook app.

“‘LOL’ is currently in private beta with around 100 high school students who signed non-disclosure agreements with parental consent to do focus groups and one-on-one testing with Facebook staff,” said the report.

According to social media experts, this is yet another attempt by Facebook — embroiled in several data breach and privacy violation cases — to get into a yet-to-be-tapped market to boost its stalled user growth.

“It may not be a good idea to again start some specific social media platform for tender minds especially when the content is not guided. There has been a call globally to limit the screen time for kids and Facebook is somehow trying to hook them onto screens,” Anoop Mishra, one of the nation’s leading social media experts, told IANS on Saturday.

Despite call for withdrawal by experts, Facebook has decided to expand the reach of its Messenger Kids by introducing the video calling and messaging app designed for children under 13. The Messenger Kids app was launched in the US in 2017.

In 2018, more than 100 child health experts wrote an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to discontinue the app.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“At a time when there is mounting concern about how social media use affects adolescents’ well being, it is particularly irresponsible to encourage children as young as pre-schoolers to start using a Facebook product,” the authors wrote.

British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also warned the social media giant to stay away from his children.

“Facebook told me they would come back with ideas to PREVENT underage use of their product, but instead they are actively targeting younger children. Stay away from my kids please Facebook and act responsibly!” Hunt had posted on Twitter.

Responding to the backlash that Facebook’s Messenger Kids is facing, a top executive of the social network said that families would be better off because the video calling and messaging app designed for the under 13s exists. “I firmly believe that it is a good product,” said David Marcus, Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging Products.

But experts feel that the app’s overall impact on families and society is likely to be negative, and it could normalise social media use among young children by creating peer pressure.

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“With the growing incidences of child trafficking, wrong marketing messaging amid absence of proper guidelines, such new apps meant for kids can be another cause of concerns for parents,” stressed Mishra.

With over a billion users, Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform Instagram is currently very popular among teenagers.

Facebook has over 2.2 billion users globally, including 300 million in India.

The company last year launched a short-form video app called “Lasso” but the app did not gained much popularity. (IANS)