Looking for an update on Delhi University's admission procedure on a social media site may leave you red-faced with embarrassment, as 21-year-old Aradhana Singh found recently.
The top-ten results for the keyword "DU" that appeared on Singh's Twitter account included several 'clickbaits' to adult websites with graphic images and explicit messages. Delhi University, like most educational institutions in the country, does not have an internet monitoring cell to prevent such offences or raise the issues at relevant platforms.
DU officials will rather wait for a third party or a victim to flag the issue. "Currently, we do not have any official who can look after this kind of menace on social media, hence our hands are tied. There needs to be a complaint filed in the first place to raise the issue," Neeta Sehgal, proctor at Delhi University, told Mail Today.
A Twitter India official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said such misuse of a brand name must be brought to the notice of the company before it can take action or block the content.
REASON TO WORRY
"This appears to be a case luring traction on social media in the name of Delhi University's girl students. But we haven't received a single complaint as yet," the official said. Soon after the conversation, the search results for #DU keywords began to show considerable filtering. Mail Today, however, has screenshots of earlier 'clickbait' results. Some of these results read: "Delhi University Unseen Scandal", "Exposed Indian Cute Babe from Delhi University", "Sex with marge Delhi University nude girl", "#Delhi University nude girl", "#delhi university latest sex tubes online games to play for free for adults" along with obscene pictures and minute-long video clips. "It was so embarrassing to see such a clip playing randomly on my screen," Aradhana Singh recounted.
However, Singh said she would not like to take up this matter with either the police or the university.
According to cyber experts, such cases are complicated because two separate computers or mobile handsets, with different security settings, may throw up varying results for the same keyword. "Nevertheless, this can certainly hamper the reputation of DU as these are the results of a global search engine. The miscreants are using the hash tag concept to the fullest here by targeting words like #DelhiUniversity and #girls in this foul act," said Kislay Chaudhary, an ethical hacker and a technical advisor to Delhi Police.
"The university must red-flag such misuse, as this can be a harrowing experience for parents who are not well-versed with new technology," said Chaudhary. DU students' bodies were quick to condemn the misuse and squarely blamed university administration for not keeping abreast with the latest technology and its possible misuse. "We do not even have an official Delhi University (Twitter) handle which can bring this to the attention of authorities," said Akshay Lakra, president of Congress-backed National Students Union of India (NSUI).
MATTER OF UTTER SHAME: ABVP NATIONAL MEDIA CONVENER
"It is a matter of utter shame that porn clips targeting girls from DU are appearing on social media platform." The NSUI leader said it was about time that DU administered its official social media platforms like several other colleges and institutions do. The RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad felt the timing of such misuse of social media needed to be investigated. "This is particularly the time when students and parents actively search for updates on admission process. Such an experience can be very embarrassing," said Saket Bahuguna, national media convener of ABVP.
Saket said his organisation will force Twitter to "immediately remove those obscene and misguiding search results". Calling it a flip side of technology which has given DU its once-in-a-while crisis, Miranda House professor Abha Dev Habib said such offences amount to a form of sexual harassment. "Even if the girls on DU's campus are not physically harmed, there is still ample reason for the officials to worry. We need to find out who is running such objectionable content and fix responsibility," Habib said.