I saw the following news item while I was traversing the web - it looks at how
newsgroups might be manipulated by "fake" members. It reminded me of a thread
or two on B-Oz and is an interesting read. I have appended a couple of excerpts
for those who can't access the website ...
The fake persuaders
Corporations are inventing people to rubbish their opponents on the internet
Tuesday May 14, 2002
"Persuasion works best when it's invisible. The most effective marketing worms
its way into our consciousness, leaving intact the perception that we have
reached our opinions and made our choices independently. As old as humankind
itself, over the past few years this approach has been refined, with the help of
the internet, into a technique called "viral marketing".
While, in the past, companies have created fake citizens' groups to campaign in
favour of trashing forests or polluting rivers, now they create fake citizens.
Messages purporting to come from disinterested punters are planted on
listservers at critical moments, disseminating misleading information in the
hope of recruiting real people to the cause.
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