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The most legendary Twitter handle theft, of course, was in 2014. Naoki Hiroshima had a coveted single letter ‘N’ as his username. And then it was stolen from him by a genius social engineering hack in which an attacker was able to take control of his GoDaddy account and then extorted him out of his Twitter handle.

My story is significantly stupider.

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

I decided to play around with my Twitter username, and started looking for available usernames like ‘HINDUlSM’, with a lowercase ‘L’ instead of an uppercase ‘I’. …

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Source: Prakash Jha Productions

It’s almost a pattern now: a director with a mature film goes to the most regressive and conservative Censor Board in recent history, already having announced the release date.

The Board then rejects the movie, sending the filmmaker into a media frenzy. HuffPo articles come out condemning the ‘ban’. The director furiously retweets every piece on the Internet bemoaning the rejection. National dailies’ editorials question the existence of a Censor Board in the first place.

Applications are sent to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) or to a High Court, depending on the clout of the producer. A compromise is arrived at — some cuts and disclaimers in exchange for a release. Begrudgingly, the director puts on a public show of celebration, and the movie comes out censored anyway, diluting the victory and defeating the principles of free expression on which the fight was waged in the first place. …

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“Okay, so we’re making the website a sub-section of Firstpost itself? How would that work?”

“Well, sir, we both use the same content management system, so integrating it into our website should not be a problem.”

“Same content management system? Doesn’t Faking News use WordPress?”

“Yes, sir, they do.”

“Oh don’t fucking tell me.”

“Sir you signed off on WordPress.”

“Did I? Jesus, we need to do something about that. Anyway, what about their content?”

“What about it, sir?”

“Well, satire tends to be a little anti-establishment, right? …

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Date a girl who files RTIs. See that open sewer? That unnecessary road construction work? Date a girl whose gut reaction to those municipal failures is an application to the district magistrate demanding an explanation.

Find a girl who files RTIs. Find a girl who reads the news, thirsts for further knowledge, and actually spends time on doing it by exercising her Right to Information with an application to the relevant government organisation.

Date a girl who files RTIs. Date a girl who solves her friends’ disputes with the government not with familial connections to ministers or bureaucrats, but with a ₹10 court fee-stamped application to the government department that is causing them trouble. …

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Image from OneIndia

Today, Arvind Kejriwal shared a stand-up comedy video from YouTube. Problem: he shared it on Twitter using a YouTube link that gave away his private YouTube channel. It has seven subscribers, in case you’re wondering.

Although he has no public videos on the channel, he does have a curiously named playlist: Old and patriotic songs.

With minimally added commentary by me, here, for the first time on the Internet, are the contents of that playlist.

  1. Ruke Na Jo, from Jai Bangladesh (1971)

This song is patriotic, sure, but it’s not quite Indian. It is from an Indian film, but the song starts with the title of the film, Jai Bangladesh. …

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Source: OML/Business Standard

Last week, Amazon made a huge announcement: 14 stand-up comedians would have their own hour-long special streamed on Prime Video globally to over 60 million subscribers. Nothing this large has been done in the history of Indian stand-up comedy.

All the comics that they signed on have a lot in common. They have all had a career that launched them from obscurity to a fame where their shows can book out a reasonably sized auditorium with hundreds of seats. Their new-found fame is a function of the rise of stand-up comedy in India, which has grown immeasurably in the last decade. …

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When the infectious PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen) song went viral last year, a lot of different copies of the video floated around on the internet, and they all had up to millions of views more than the original YouTube upload has gotten.

This phenomenon is called freebooting, where a monetized YouTube video that earns money from advertising is downloaded and re-uploaded in other places where views won’t earn the original creator any money.

Many Facebook pages do this, and if you get “funny videos” on your news feed that have added static captions on the top and bottom (like “This Will Make You Cry”), then that copy of the video has likely been freebooted, and that Facebook page’s admin is probably an inconsiderate thief.

But in Taher Shah’s case, his videos have been extensively freebooted not just by Facebook pages, but by other YouTube users, who have raked in millions of views by re-uploading his videos. Take “Top Pakistani Songs”, for example. This channel is verified by YouTube, and hosts a mirror of Shah’s “Angel”. Shah’s own upload of the music video has almost 1.5 million views. Top Pakistani Songs, on the other hand, has 4.5 million! That’s three times as many views as there are on the original video! …

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Souce: @SushmaSwaraj on Twitter

When Atul Bhobe, with all of 20 followers on Twitter, tweeted out a screenshot of Amazon’s website to India’s foreign minister, he probably set off alarm bells within the multinational conglomerate’s top ranks in India and in the US.

The issue: Amazon was selling doormats with the Indian flag on its Canadian website.

The reaction: A series of angry tweets demanding the Indian high commission in Canada to take action immediately, and a threat to Amazon executives that their visas would be cancelled.

This is one of the more baffling outbreaks of emotion by an Indian minister against a foreign multinational in recent history. …

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Source: BuzzFeed

Does the phrase “urban poverty” make you giggle or tighten your fists with rage? If so, it’s probably because of this infamous thinkpiece that your friends have very polarized opinions about: “The Urban Poor You Haven’t Noticed: Millennials Who’re Broke, Hungry, But On Trend”.

The point that piece was making was that there are lots of young employees in the corporate world who spend undue amounts of money on keeping up appearances, often at the cost of their own basic needs. …

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A 25% loss of image.

Earlier this Saturday, Hotstar pretended that their Twitter account got hacked, and convincingly so. Indeed, the juvenile tweets that came out of their account led many to assume that their handle was indeed compromised — I was one of the Twitterati who fell for it.

The whole affair turned out to be a promotional activity for their release of Deadpool on Hotstar Premium. They were creatively cautious in announcing that the film was uncensored— they called it “unspoiled”. They did this for Game of Thrones’s sixth season too.


Problem: it was not unspoiled. Deadpool was cropped on Hotstar from its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 to 16:9. That’s a 25% loss of image. …


Aroon Deep

I lance for free. Twitter: @AroonDeep

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