Sat, Jan 08, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Presidential adviser clarifies comments made about Facebook, PTT Web sites

By Lin Hsiao-yun and Chen Yi-ching  /  Staff Reporters

Presidential adviser and former president of National Chi Nan University Lee Chia-tung (李家同) recently caused a ruckus when it was reported that he had said “only fools would ever go on PTT” and “successful people would never use Facebook.”

PTT, short for Professional Technology Temple (PTT), is the nation’s largest academic bulletin board system (BBS).

Lee was recently invited by Yahoo Taiwan to have a discussion with students and the company has said that it was during this discussion that he made the comments.

Yahoo Taiwan also quoted Lee as saying: “I read seven foreign newspapers a day and I require my students to watch BBC news, and browsing things on the Internet is a waste of human life.”

Lee’s comments caused an outburst of anger from people who use the PTT site, with users saying that Lee has “too high an opinion of himself” and that he is “illiterate when it comes to the new age of the Internet.”

On Thursday, Yahoo Taiwan suddenly took down the original story and changed its original title and content without offering an explanation for the changes.

Lee, meanwhile, said on Thursday that he could not remember saying that only idiots would use such Web sites and that he has to clarify the content of the conversation he had with Yahoo Taiwan.

However, Lee did say that he does indeed believe that “anyone who spends too much time on PTT is an idiot” and that “successful people would not spend too much time on Facebook.”

An hour a day is too much time and 10 minutes is about as long as one should spend on such sites, he said.

He said the main point he was trying to make was that he hopes people would spend more time on study and learning about things and that people should engage in more meaningful activities.

He said that in their spare time, people should read up on things like classical poetry and prose or look at news Web sites like BBC or CNN. He said this is much more productive than spending too much time on social networking sites and the habit people nowadays have of revealing things about their private lives or complaining about things on such sites is actually dangerous and not in their own interests.

When asked by the press whether he is an old-fashioned person, Lee quickly admitted that he is, adding that society always needs more old-fashioned people.

Although Lee has denied that he said only idiots would use PTT and Facebook, PTT users were still furious and many Facebook users also expressed their discontent.

Noting that the founder of Facebook is worth tens of billions of dollars, some Netizens asked Lee how the CEO of Facebook could not be deemed successful. Another Internet user pointed out that “President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) also uses Facebook.”

In response to the uproar over Lee’s comments, Wu Chung-tai (吳忠泰), secretary-general of the National Teachers’ Association, said that each generation has its own unique way of making friends and obtaining information and that different generations needed to respect each other.

However, he added that there are indeed some students who are hooked on using the Internet and that they should learn to manage their time better and think of Lee’s comments as a kind reminder.

Additional reporting by Hu Ching-huei

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