Watch out: Evil people discovered how to go viral

By | June 3, 2012
Why social media as a game changer could backfire sooner than we want.

The internet – and in particular social media – has enabled movements that have never been possible before. Consider how it has succeeded in stopping ACTA, SOPA, and its crucial role in the Arab (or better put, north African) revolutions.

Unfortunately, it is not just people with good intentions who have discovered that power. It looks like Monsanto is no stranger here, and with their deep pockets, they are lining up their defenses to protect their pocketbooks. I wonder what would happen if Elsevir, RIAA, and the rest of the organizations who love proposing outrageous laws also caught on?

… the Internet could become a scary place if current 'popular' content outlets were bought out or picked up by some of those unscrupulous folk. The 'grassroots masquerade' effect is more dangerous than anything else: sure, people shouldn't believe everything they read online. But we know that's not the case. Simple analogy: how many people actually call up to verify the certificate on a 'secure' site? If not, you can't know that the site is authentic. And yet most people just click the certificate away. If people don't care enough to look up whether a site is trustworthy, do you think they would bother to check who owns a site, let alone if the owner has any fishy connections?

You get the point. I'm not sure about you, but I've found health-food advertisment to be particularly well written: they provide entire health journals with lots of numbers and fluff from studies sponsored by you-know-who that build up a convincing argument to purchase particular sorts of products. Cohesive arguments, backed by prestigous scientific journals, and no specific brands being promoted by these articles. It's very well done, and at the same time something I find scary: somehow people have the impression that if something appears as an online campaign, it was started by honest people

Dear internet users, why are you so immature? Please put that assumption out of your minds and get that tinfoil cap on, all the time!

/via +Gregory Esau 

Reshared post from +David Kokua

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Meet the Corporate Front Groups Fighting to Make Sure You Can’t Know What’s in Your Food | | AlterNet
Here’s a partial lineup of hired guns and organizations behind the anti-labeling advertising blitz soon to hit the California airwaves.

4 thoughts on “Watch out: Evil people discovered how to go viral

  1. Jeremy Von Deylen

    It will be a scary day when people are inspired by the blather of self-interest over selfless do gooders. The power of social is the collective consciousness of the crowd has the opportunity to call out BS, just like you have done… Kudos
     : ) 

    Reply
  2. Sophie Wrobel

    +John Bump sure, but my impression is that internet citizens expect reviews to reflect someone's opinion, and expect that a curator will take care of making sure that they are not biased. That the curator could be biased, though, is something that, in a typical user's mind, only happens when the site on which the reviews sits is a corporate site, and 'grassroots' organizations don't fall under that for whatever reason. At least that's my impression. I hope I'm wrong.

    Reply
  3. Jeremy Von Deylen

    Perhaps a social disclaimer is in order

    Warning: Believing everything you read on the Internet could be hazardous to your health (literally). The evil-doers may just be cool enough to use social and other Jedi mind tricks to influence you. a.k.a. these are not the droids you are looking for.

    Reply
  4. John Bump

    This has been happening for years: public relations firms hiring people to write good online reviews, cults hiring people to rewrite wikipedia pages about their misdeeds…  One of the major losses we face from the demise of traditional journalism is not being able to identify the biases of online writers.

    Reply

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