Saturday, August 2, 2014

Facebook freedom index

.....FB per capita (users/population): Canada (17/35), UK (30/64), USA (147/318), Argentina (16/43), France (22/66), Indonesia (63/202), Mexico (36/120), Italy (18/61), Brazil (69/252), Germany (22/81), Japan (17/127), India (115/1250).....Absentees: China (1366), Pakistan (188), Nigeria (178), Bangladesh (156), Russia (146), Philippines (100), Vietnam (90), Ethiopia (88), Egypt (87), Iran (78), Turkey (77), Thailand (64), South Africa (54), South Korea (50).....
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We have taken the top 15 nations (ranking for total users) in 2013 and re-ordered them by dividing through with the population (2014). This data from April 2013 is already old, there is every indication that Facebook use is exploding, especially in the developing world (with exceptions). Also it is clear that on pure per capita terms India would not rank (yet), while Australia (we presume) would.
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Americans - short-hand for free people who are (1) conscious of their rights, (2) have unreasonable expectations from the government, and (3) unwilling to pay taxes for the same - are dialing 911 to report Facebook outage(s)- note link below. Thus temporary denial of access to social media has been elevated to a life-threatening emergency. A sign of things to come, if one was needed at all.

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We are not overtly fond of social media tools. In our opinion, it brings the global community to your door-step (good) but equally it drives the person next door far away from you (bad). We observe that children are spending too much time indoors. It appears that people (especially young people) are losing their inclination/ability to make small talk or to prevent their eyes drifting to an electronic screen in a social gathering. Finally, FB culture is a global (american, western) culture. It is another way that the local culture will be driven to extinction.

That said, it is a truism that we have to accept change in order to survive. This we believe - access to social media is a new-age freedom that must be protected and even championed. How else will you know what the world is thinking right now and the impact of such thinking? You CAN be brain-washed and become a jihadist, but you will also get disillusioned by jihadist thinking soon enough (we hope). If you have the minimum needs met with respect to roti, kaapda, makaan (as well as bijli, sadak, pani), then the next important thing (we believe) is access to Face Book. Most importantly (for us), without Facebook there would be no Brown Pundits.
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Did we mention that Jews are very big in the tech-world? Why raise such a controversial issue right in the middle of the Gaza war? Simply to point out that govt will use any reason to deny social media freedoms to their citizens (see below). Ironically, it is social media that is reporting on the excesses committed by the Israeli Defense Forces (with the aid of American ammunition).
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So on to the FB usage data and what useful conclusions can be drawn (please feel free to add....and subtract): 

First, we consider the first world. The Anglo-Nats really really love FB - penetration is close to 50%. OTOH, in non-Anglo countries like  France, Italy, and Germany, the love is a bit tepid.

Now consider India. We expect urban India (approx 400 mil) to catch up with the rest of the world at some point in the (not too distant) future. We may also conclude that social media freedom exists only for a tiny section of rural India (68.7% of population in 2011 - approx 850 mil - ref. World Bank). With improvement in internet access and electricity, we expect the rural population to catch up with their urban cousins as well in the long run (perhaps in a few decades).

There are problems which need to be sorted out with the Indian IT Act 66(A) as documented by The Center for Internet and Society (CIS - see link below):  
Section 66A which punishes persons for sending offensive messages is overly broad, and is patently in violation of Art. 19(1)(a) of our Constitution. The fact that some information is "grossly offensive" (s.66A(a)) or that it causes "annoyance" or "inconvenience" while being known to be false (s.66A(c)) cannot be a reason for curbing the freedom of speech unless it is directly related to decency or morality, public order, or defamation (or any of the four other grounds listed in Art. 19(2)).

However, it is promising to note that Indian courts have generally taken a dim view of censorship. It is a different matter that in a number of cases, violent elements are unleashed (or cynically speaking, violent behavior is promised or anticipated) in order to suppress lawful behavior. 

The truly interesting countries are the ones which are absent or ranked low on the list...for not so obvious reasons. Why are Philippines (just turned 100 mil on July 27, 2014- congratulations!!!!), South Korea, and Thailand- modern countries all - missing? Why is FB penetration in Japan so pathetic (marginally above India)?

In Latin America, why is Argentina ranked higher than Mexico, which is so much more "American" in its ways. What is the reason for Brazil to fall behind ARG/MEX?

And closer home, how about Pakistan and Bangladesh? We know of periodic social media bans in Pak but this is not the case for Bangla.  

Still we feel that (in the long run), Bangla will look more like Indonesia, while Pak will be aligned with Turkey and Iran in having restricted access to social media. 

Finally, people argue that Chinese are able to access the internet using digital subterfuges but in our opinion, it does makes a difference if you have to watch over your shoulder all the time. 
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Iranians are no longer able to use the free text messaging service WhatsApp, JTA reports, because the app was recently bought by Facebook, which is run by Mark Zuckerberg, who is Jewish. 
That's right: Iran banned the app, which allows users to communicate via text message without having to purchase a dedicated SMS plan, because it is owned by a company whose CEO is, as they put it, is an "American Zionist."

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“The reason for this is the assumption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist,” said Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, head of the country’s secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, Fox News reported Sunday.

The move would make more sense, though, if Facebook was also banned in Iran. But since it's not, this arbitrary ban is largely meaningless, serving only to prevent the citizens of Iran from saving money while they group text. 

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It's especially nonsensical considering how much of a presence on social media—Facebook included—Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has built up since taking office in 2013. He tweets regularly, and updates his Facebook profile with pictures and messages. The ban on WhatsApp, then, seems wholly inconsistent, and almost entirely random.

It's not the first Jewish-tinged attack on Facebook since the social networking behemoth bought WhatsApp in February. A German newspaper published a cartoon depicting the 'Facebook Octopus'—a hook-nosed Zuckerberg with tentacles pulling the WhatsApp logo into his reach

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According to LA County Sheriff sergeant Burton Brink, they received “several” calls from dissatisfied Facebook users seeking a solution to the error message they faced while logging into Facebook.
Frustrated, Brink wrote a message on Twitter: “Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please do not call us about it being down, we do not know when FB will be back up!”
Brink explained it was done to prevent more people from calling about the problem.
“We get phone calls all the time, whether it be Facebook going down," Brink was quoted as saying in a Fortune report.
- See more at: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/facebook-users-in-the-us-dial-911-over-outage-cops-frown/15500152#sthash.BNsmJ7ea.dpuf
According to LA County Sheriff sergeant Burton Brink, they received “several” calls from dissatisfied Facebook users seeking a solution to the error message they faced while logging into Facebook.
Frustrated, Brink wrote a message on Twitter: “Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please do not call us about it being down, we do not know when FB will be back up!”
Brink explained it was done to prevent more people from calling about the problem.
“We get phone calls all the time, whether it be Facebook going down," Brink was quoted as saying in a Fortune report.
- See more at: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/facebook-users-in-the-us-dial-911-over-outage-cops-frown/15500152#sthash.BNsmJ7ea.dpuf

According to LA County Sheriff sergeant Burton Brink, they received “several” calls from dissatisfied Facebook users seeking a solution to the error message they faced while logging into Facebook.


Frustrated, Brink wrote a message on Twitter: “Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please do not call us about it being down, we do not know when FB will be back up!”

Brink explained it was done to prevent more people from calling about the problem.


“We get phone calls all the time, whether it be Facebook going down," Brink was quoted as saying in a Fortune report.

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Link (1): http://www.statista.com/statistics/268136/top-15-countries-based-on-number-of-facebook-users/

Link (2): http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/turkey-facebook-youtube-twitter-blocked 

Link (3): http://www.mid-day.com/articles/facebook-users-in-the-us-dial-911-over-outage-cops-frown

Link (4): http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/171601/iran-bans-whatsapp-because-mark-zuckerberg-is-jewish

Link (5): http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/breaking-down-section-66-a-of-the-it-act

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regards