Amartya Sen hits out at Facebook; says no intention to join

After falling victim to identity theft on 'Facebook', Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has said he got no help from the managers of the social networking site in closing the "fraudulent" page of someone impersonating him.

Sen said he never intends to open any account at a site where it is difficult to check the "genuineness" of a participant.

According to a recent newspaper report, an 'impostor' pretending to be Amartya Sen had created a page on Facebook, which showed Sen as having 490 fans, and was liberally posting views that radically contradicted the political and economic views held by the Professor.

"I do not have any Facebook site of my own, and do not intend to open one. The story.....is indeed correct, and the site referred to there, where someone pretending to be me answered questions — in first person — as Amartya Sen, had nothing whatsoever to do with me," Sen told PTI through email.

"The fraudulent Facebook page has been in operation, I understand, for some months now, but I came to know of it only two days ago when a young Italian enthusiast told me about this site, having been deceived himself in thinking it to be genuine," he added.

Disappointed that he never got any help from the Facebook managers in solving the issue, Sen said, "The managers of the Facebook system are not helpful in monitoring the veracity of the sites and communications. I got no help from them, and if the fraudulent site pretending to be from me has now been closed — as I am told it has been...."

Efforts to get a specific response from the Facebook did not materialise.

The renowned economist, however, does not completely disapprove of social networking sites.

"I don't use Facebook not because I disapprove of them. The genuine ones could help communication across the world, of which I am entirely in favour. Indeed, I think such communications can be very useful in getting people closer to each other despite the geographical distances separating them," Sen said.

"If the honour system is respected, the Facebook can have good effects, without the possibility of distorting people's views -- as my economic and political assessments were distorted by that fraudulent site," he added.

Earlier, reacting to the revelation, Sen had said "I had no clue what he could be talking about, but there I was in what pretended to be a Facebook site run by me, with a picture of mine (real) and date of birth (real), replying to others with easy abandon — telling them what to read and what to avoid, corresponding in first person."

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