01st Jan 2013
Facebook is like the Big Boss House in many ways. Whatever you do or say is out there for the world to watch. As people become more social on the web than in person, we look back at all the reason for which the social networking giant was in the news, in India:
Spreading Music To The World
There have been add-ons for some IM clients that display the name of the track being played in your media player, as your status message. FB took this to the next level, allowing you to not just share the name of the song, but the song itself, with your friends. A lot of conversations can start with exchanging ideas on music, so this does seem like a nifty addition. To listen to what your friends are playing (if they have enabled this feature), just click the music note on the chat sidebar against your friend's name.
Content Monitoring (officially) Begins In India
Delhi HC warned FB and Google to filter content, with the threat of a Chinese-style complete block they wouldn’t get rid of objectionable details. A day later, the Government sanctions orders to prosecute 21 internet firms for "carrying provocative content". In hindsight, the gag on free speech as we know it began before the Palghar incident.
Indian Army Bans FB
In a bid to safeguard interests and identities of its Personnel, the Indian Army ordered all its men (women) to stay away from social networks including FB. Would be nice if the armed forces get a social network to socialise among themselves in a close-knit setup.
Guinness World Record for most comments
If there was a world record for the most pointless world record, this would be a top contender. Four FourFrontierville fans set a new Facebook record for most comments on a single post with 1,001,552, comments.
Outsourcing, FB Style!
FB Messenger For Windows Debuts
Given the in-browser chat feature in Gmail and Facebook, one might think standalone IM apps are passé, but FB does not think so. A new desktop-based messenger was brought to life – the software also intimates users of new comments, photo tags and more.
Facebook Under Fire For Blocking Indian Accounts
After several requests to control what goes online, an Assamese tribal community realised how seriously the social network takes its out outsourced-policies. Thousands of accounts belonging to the Chutia community from Assam were blocked without any prior notice, which drew a lot of ire from users. And they don't block expletives where they perhaps need to!
Facebook Buys Instagram For $1 Billion
A picture speaks a thousand words is the adage, and FB understand it. FB bought Instagram and several ardent Instagram users feared that their "protected" images will be distributed without explicit content. But then again, you need to understand that if it is on the web, it is never ‘private’ in the conventional sense of the word.
File Sharing Comes to Groups
Facebook allowed users in a group to share non-music, and non-executable files of up to 25 GB with ease. The move to exclude music files was to curb piracy. Seriously, haven't they heard of pirated e-books or other file types that can violate copyrights?
Facebook's First Divorce Case
In a first of sorts for India, a user’s FB profile was cited as one of the causes for ending a two-month-old marriage of a couple hailing from Aurangabad. Reason? The 28-year-old's husband didn't change his marital status on the social network. Incidentally, the web service is said to be responsible for 33% of divorces worldwide.
Can't Get Rid Of Timeline
Not many people warmed up to the timeline concept, despite all of Facebook's efforts. As user's vented their anguish, two scamsters cropped up to revert back to the old user profiles. While one was a browser plug-in which claimed to "remove" FB Timeline from user profiles (only to redirect you to a Turkish domain), the other collected user details through a survey app that posed to be legit. Change may not be a good thing, but why fight it?
List Yourself As Organ Donors
On May 1st, Facebook let users in the US list themselves are organ donors. Being the second most populous nation in the country, a feature like this would have worked wonders in India too. And after some soul-searching, AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) also started to think about extending this service to Indian users as well. The country's premier medical institute's Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation had plans to take aid from FB to encourage voluntary organ donations and create awareness about it, but nothing materialised by the end of 2012.
Indian IT Act Claims Its First Victim On FB
The first time the IT Act claimed it first rightful victim was when Jaipur-based PhD microbiology student Vipin Kumar Chouhan, who hacked into a senior's account and put up obscene posts on his wall was arrested. With this thoughtless act of revenge, the 27-year-old is stating at a 5-year jail term or a Rs 1 lakh fine. So the IT Act is not completely useless, now is it?
FB Response Helps Sony fast-forward Xperia Launches
If Sony was trying to gauge its popularity in the mid-range Android smartphones market, then using the Facebook path surely would've surely pleased them. Plans to launch three handsets — Xperia miro, tipo, and tipo dual — was pulled ahead by 9 days, thanks to overzealous fanboys who ensured that the counter ticked faster!
Mamata Didi Debuts on FB, Pitches Kalam For President
After a lot of flak online being on a high horse and not being able take a joke in good spirits, Mamata Banrjee made her official debut on FB a "humble, transparent, common person", asking citizens to support Dr Abdul Kalam for Presidential nomination. Unlike snake bites that need its venom as cure, the move didn't do much to change her image amongst netizens.
Editing Comments To Save You Skin
As a boon to people with butter fingers on the keyboard, or those with wrong choice of words, the social network enabled comment editing. However it won't cover all your bases, users can view a history of the edited comments.
App Center Comes To India
After flaunting an App Center way back in May, and with several apps already available, Facebook seemed to be riding on an eco-system tide, as it rolled out the app repository in June on the mobile platforms as well for users in the US. The app center was finally made available to users in India a month later, which came as a relief: Finally all the Farmville requests moved out of my homepage!
Share Your Story With Facebook
Taking its Facebook Stories app initiative further, the social network launched FacebookStories.com, a dedicated site to highlight user videos and articles, on a monthly theme. The website surely seemed to go out of its way to show the world that all the social connections it manages to make a difference.
Expecting a Baby? Celebrate With The World!
After adding same-sex couple icons on July 2, FB added a new Life Event for Timeline, so that you can tell the world that you are expecting a bundle of joy, especially when you are lost for words. So now getting a pet, losing a loved one, or experiencing love at first sight, you don’t need to say a word: Just create a new life event!
How Facebook Was Used To Fuel Anti-Northeast Sentiments
As hard as Zuckerberg tried to hold FB's social connect flag high, back home, the social networking website showed the uglier side of human emotions. As people from North-East India were bullied and chased out of several cities, it all started with baseless rumours which fuelled hatred from a social network! FB on its part agreed to help the Govt get rid of such "hateful content".
Several Stars Debut Officially On Facebook
Although Twitter seemed to be every popular "stars" favourite hangout, some of them have moved to FB as well. This year, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, and Salman Khan tried their hands the web service. Whether they will use it actively or not their presence itself will bring glee to their fans' faces.
Two Girls Land Behind Bars With A Post!
Palghar and Facebook came into the limelight along with Sec 66A of the Information Technology Act, as two girls from the small town were arrested for posting supposedly "insulting remarks" against the deceased Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray. The girls were set free on Rs 15,000 bonds. The case was subsequently closed, not without ruffling a lot of feathers.
After, Bal Thackeray, Raj Get Abused on FB!
After drawing a lot of flak over how the Police handled the Palghar case, when another defamatory post, this time on Raj Thackeray cropped up, the law enforcement went cautious. The account turned out to be a fake and the incident slipped from public memory rather swiftly.
Chandigarh Professor Caught For Making Derogatory Remarks
Similar to the Jaipur student event, the yearend saw a Chandigarh Professor being possibly put behind bars for making obscene comments. Again, section 66A which has been in the eye of the storm for a while came into play, albeit this time, it was used in the right spirit at least!