SocraticGadfly: MUCH more on the dark side of the Internet

December 07, 2009

MUCH more on the dark side of the Internet

So, while the Internet may not be an unallayed force for good, in things like citizen journalism, consumer empowerment against big business, etc., it's a human, "allayed," but still powerful force for good, right?

Uhh, quite possibly not.

Big Biz? It's behind the growth of SEOs, Google-scrubbing companies, etc.
Corporations themselves have not been slow to exploit cyberspace for their own purposes, with many of them relying on “search engine optimization” (SEO)—a set of online techniques to boost their Google ranking--to make themselves easier to find.

Now, they have stepped up their efforts, hiring the services of dedicated SEO firms that can ensure that any online complaints about corporate misbehavior posted by the likes of The Consumerist will be almost impossible to find on Google., the most visible of such companies, advertises “Do you need negative information removed? We are masters at knocking bad links off the front pages of search engines!” boasts its front page. In some sense, cyberspace has made life relatively easy for companies: they don’t need to beat up journalists anymore; they just need to beat up Google. The latter can be done quietly, privately, and at little expense--to their finances or their reputations.

And, now that Big Biz does take this seriously, it's got a lot more money and "weight" than citizen journalists.

Pseudoscience is rampant online in the "educated" West; nationalism abounds elsewhere. Add in the amount of rumor-monging in legitimate protests against authorities and authoritarianism, and the Net has plenty of "issues" and "baggage." Can it overcome that?

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