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Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

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Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by Guest on Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:36 pm

24 November 2011 Last updated at 12:08

Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web


Fakes in comment forums and social networks can erode trust in what we see online

Trust in information on the web is being damaged by the huge numbers of people paid by companies to post comments online, say researchers.

Fake posters can "poison" debate and make people unsure about who they can trust, the study suggests.

Some firms have created tens of thousands of fake accounts to flood chat forums and skew debate.

The researchers say there are reliable ways to spot fakes and urge websites to do more to police users.

The researchers from Canada and China say paying people to post comments is an "interesting strategy in business marketing" but it is not a benign activity.

"Paid posters may create a significant negative effect on the online communities, since the information from paid posters is usually not trustworthy," they wrote.

Battles

In some cases, rival companies have used competing armies of workers to wage comment wars that confused members of the public looking for unbiased information.

The researchers say the fake comments can overwhelm some users, causing them to find it hard to trust any information found online.

They give the example of a spike in activity on a World of Warcraft chat forum on the Chinese website Baidu.

A thread titled "Junpeng Jia, your mother asked you to go back home for dinner!" received over 300,000 replies over a two day period.

A PR company later claimed it had employed 800 individuals to run 20,000 separate accounts on the site to help maintain interest in the videogame while it was down for maintenance.

Growing problem

While the practice of flooding forums with fake comments is most widespread in China, where such posters are called the Internet Water Army, it is becoming common in other nations too.

The US military is known to use fakes to infiltrate chat forums to gather information about potential terror groups.

Similarly many Facebook pages are plagued by bogus friends and "social bots" that are used to stage debates.

Many marketing firms also seed forums with comments in a bid to create "viral" interest in a company or event.

However, fakes can be spotted by analysing their patterns of activity and the words they use, say the researchers.

Fakes are more likely to start new comment threads, make inane comments rather than add to a debate, and repeat former comments with minor changes, the study suggests.

The researchers say they are refining software tools to help website administrators tackle the "painful" problem.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15869683

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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by garfy on Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:46 am

hi candyfloss



i dont know if you ever saw it ...the missing maddie site on the sun ...but i was a poster on it from 2007 till it was removed ... quite early on a lot of the posters banded together ..[like as in anti n pro]...several of them who grouped together [the pro] were the most vilest posters i have ever seen ...and did at the time suspect they were using multi ids ..

whenever a valid discussion was going on about the mccs they would come on ..not to discuss but to attack the anti posters ...succeeding ..to either get that poster banned ...or for them to leave as they couldnt cope with the abuse from them...there was no need for the level of the abuse ....and like for most of us it was the fist time on a forum and very stupidly mentioned things from out private life like one who's daughter had cancer another who's daughter had been abused a few of us who had lost there children ...

this was used as ammunition by them in the worst possible way ...it did make me think ...these so called pros who had every sympathy with the mccs and comming across as compassionate people ...how could they be so vile to others just because their opinion was different to theirs ...and came to the conclusion the only explanation was they had to be hackers....

the point of this story is ...these hackers must of been paid as they were on 24/7.and relenlesly hounded several posters [my self included] and did the best to have the maddie site closed ....imo ...it was team mccann who payed them ...or indeed family/friends behind the multi ids

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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by Marian on Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:38 am

The behaviour you describe Garfy is typical of trolls in general - see this link http://www.flayme.com/troll/ - I didn't realise this when the site was plagued with trolls earlier this year and tried to communicate with them! The advice DON'T FEED THE TROLLS is good.

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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by garfy on Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:15 pm

hi marian .....i did ignore them and gave back as good as i got i was a main target but carried on regardless ....but although there was trolls on there ...it was the hackers ..[who dont do it for nothing] that i was referring too...and imo the only persons paying them was team mccann who wanted rid of the mm thread as it was so popular..

i actually think there were members of the family on there ...as they took it far to personal there reaction was as if you were directing your post at them ..[if u know what i mean]

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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by Marian on Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:30 pm

Yes I know what you mean Garfy. I think there's been at least two paid hackers on this site in the last year. It's hard to understand otherwise why they were so angry. I had an image of one of them as the cartoon character the Tasmanian devil!

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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by Shibboleth on Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:50 pm

Fakes are more likely to start new comment threads, make inane comments rather than add to a debate, and repeat former comments with minor changes, the study suggests.

Descent to abuse and ad-hominem attacks. This is the mark of a troll, I think.

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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by garfy on Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:30 pm

@Marian wrote:Yes I know what you mean Garfy. I think there's been at least two paid hackers on this site in the last year. It's hard to understand otherwise why they were so angry. I had an image of one of them as the cartoon character the Tasmanian devil!



...............mm that is what i mean ..they take it far to personally for them to be just a mcc suporter ...i have always thought to my self ...if i thought the mcc were innocent ..i would never argue there case with anyone ..i know some do ...but not to the extent that a hacker [or mccann] would

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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by Newintown on Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:54 pm

@garfy wrote:
@Marian wrote:Yes I know what you mean Garfy. I think there's been at least two paid hackers on this site in the last year. It's hard to understand otherwise why they were so angry. I had an image of one of them as the cartoon character the Tasmanian devil!



...............mm that is what i mean ..they take it far to personally for them to be just a mcc suporter ...i have always thought to my self ...if i thought the mcc were innocent ..i would never argue there case with anyone ..i know some do ...but not to the extent that a hacker [or mccann] would

There are a few posters on the Amazon Kate's book review site that go and on, about Eddie and Keela in particular, trying to diminish the excellent work of the dogs and their handler in great detail, even to putting up messages on other internet forums saying that their handler is a fraud and even writing to MPs to complain about his work. One or two of them appear on some of the Sky blogs, under slightly differing names.

I've always believed for a year or more that one of the posters could be G McCann, the way they blog is so intense as if their life depends on trying to persuade everyone on every board that the McCanns are innocent and the dogs are rubbish.

I don't know what other people think .....

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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by littlepixie on Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:31 pm

Over the years I think there has been family members or friends of the McCanns posting on the forums. There are one or two on twitter who are very interesting to read and watch.

They take it so personally and tweet so vehmently for hours at a time, and post multiple answers to someones single tweet, sometimes through the night. They are either being paid for their tweets or they are involved in the case.

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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by Guest on Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:20 pm

Surely Gerry is too busy looking for Madeleine to be trolling the message boards!!!!




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Re: Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web

Post by Angelique on Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:29 am

Newintown

You wrote:

"There are a few posters on the Amazon Kate's book review site that go and on, about Eddie and Keela in particular, trying to diminish the excellent work of the dogs and their handler in great detail, even to putting up messages on other internet forums saying that their handler is a fraud and even writing to MPs to complain about his work. One or two of them appear on some of the Sky blogs, under slightly differing names.

I've always believed for a year or more that one of the posters could be G McCann, the way they blog is so intense as if their life depends on trying to persuade everyone on every board that the McCanns are innocent and the dogs are rubbish.

I don't know what other people think ....."

I agree - I have followed the Amazon discussions for a long time and I think one of them certainly is Gerry (in multiples!).

I also agree that this is TM trying to stifle debate and/or smother any differing opinions as regards the disappearance of Madeleine. The awful thing is I also believe it's working and some of them are paid to do it. Eventually there will be only one version of their Truth. Sad

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