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Já ouviu falar nisso? O The Guardian explica:

Every month more evidence piles up, suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren’t what they seem.

The anonymity of the web gives companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns that create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there’s a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.

After I wrote about online astroturfing in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them.

Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I’ll reveal more about what he told me when I’ve finished the investigation I’m working on.

O mais interessante é que lá pelo meio do artigo é mencionada a empresa HBGary Federal. Esta empresa foi contratada pelo Bank of America para minar o Wikileaks, que contém dados sigilosos e embaraçosos do banco e promete jogar a merda no ventilador em breve. E eles fizeram isso rasgando um por um os artigos da constituição americana. O mais bacana é que uma das formas de minar o Wikileaks era indo pra cima do Anonymous, um grupo de hackers justiceiros que atacavam empresas que boicotavam o Wikileaks. A HBGary desvendou alguns de seus integrantes, e recebeu como troco uma invasão no seu sistema e a publicação de dados que mostram bem a forma anti-ética como eles trabalham. Essa matéria da Wired conta tudo. Abaixo, um pouco da metodologia da HGBary:

• Companies now use “persona management software”, which multiplies the efforts of each astroturfer, creating the impression that there’s major support for what a corporation or government is trying to do.

• This software creates all the online furniture a real person would possess: a name, email accounts, web pages and social media. In other words, it automatically generates what look like authentic profiles, making it hard to tell the difference between a virtual robot and a real commentator.

• Fake accounts can be kept updated by automatically reposting or linking to content generated elsewhere, reinforcing the impression that the account holders are real and active.

• Human astroturfers can then be assigned these “pre-aged” accounts to create a back story, suggesting that they’ve been busy linking and retweeting for months. No one would suspect that they came onto the scene for the first time a moment ago, for the sole purpose of attacking an article on climate science or arguing against new controls on salt in junk food.

• With some clever use of social media, astroturfers can, in the security firm’s words, “make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise … There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to fictitious personas.”


Software like this has the potential to destroy the internet as a forum for constructive debate. It jeopardises the notion of online democracy. Comment threads on issues with major commercial implications are already being wrecked by what look like armies of organised trolls – as you can sometimes see on

The internet is a wonderful gift, but it’s also a bonanza for corporate lobbyists, viral marketers and government spin doctors, who can operate in cyberspace without regulation, accountability or fear of detection. So let me repeat the question I’ve put in previous articles, and which has yet to be satisfactorily answered: what should we do to fight these tactics?

Quer ver o que está sendo falado ao redor do mundo sobre a panela de pressão egípcia? É só clicar em uma das bolinhas e ler o que está sendo twittado. Palmas para o The Guardian.

É muito foda saber o que os vizinhos ainda sob o jugo de ditadores estão falando.

O The Guardian tá com uma matéria foda sobre a indústria da música. Segue o trecho mais interessante:

Mark Mulligan, music analyst at Forrester Research, points out that “Digital music is at an impasse” because “it has not achieved any of its three key objectives”, specifically:

1 – to offset the impact of declining CD sales

2 – to generate a format replacement cycle and

3 – to compete effectively with piracy.

Mulligan notes that

“the divergence between emerging consumer behaviour and legitimate music products is widening at an alarming rate. And consumers are voting with their feet: Forrester’s latest consumer data shows digital music activity adoption is flat across ALL activity types compared to 1 year previously (in fact the data shows a slight decline).”

The hope on the part of the music business that the iPod, and the iTunes Store, and then digital music stores of all sorts, would be its saviour has turned out to be false. As Mulligan notes,

“all music activity is niche, except for video. Just 10% of Europeans and 18% of US consumers pay for digital music. Only music video has more than 20% adoption (and only in Europe at that): YouTube is digital music’s killer app.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Via Tiago Dória, inclusive o didático título do post.

The global newspaper market generates 57% of revenue from advertising, the OECD said, although that figure is far higher in many developed countries, most notably in the US, where newspapers are reliant on advertising for 87% of their income.

The figure is 50% in the UK, according to the OECD, and lowest in Japan (35%), which has some of the world’s bestselling newspapers and the highest levels of newspaper penetration.

Online advertising revenues accounted for a “minuscule” proportion of total newspaper revenues – just 4% in 2009.

Minha visão dessa queda livre dos jornais é temerosa. Uma sociedade sem jornais traz tanbém muitos riscos:

“Given the central role of news for democratic societies, the evolution of news creation and distribution are a matter of public interest”, the report’s authors say.

“The question is whether and how the production of high-quality and pluralistic news content can be left to market forces alone”.

The report concludes that “no business and/or revenue sharing models have been found to finance in-depth independent news production. This raises questions as to the supply of high-quality journalism in the longer term.”

Não significa que o governo deve financiar empresários que não souberam se adaptar aos novos tempos, mas sim a conscientização que o papel exercido pelos jornais deve sert mantido, seja lá em qual plataforma.

Via The Guardian

Garanto que o que vai abaixo, escrito por Charlie Brooker, é o melhor texto que você vai ler sobre o tema:

Years ago, I had an idea for a futuristic pair of goggles that visually transformed homeless people into lovable animated cartoon characters. Instead of being confronted by the conscience-pricking sight of an abandoned heroin addict shivering themselves to sleep in a shop doorway, the rich city-dweller wearing the goggles would see Daffy Duck snoozing dreamily in a hammock. London would be transformed into something out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

What’s more, the goggles could be adapted to suit whichever level of poverty you wanted to ignore: by simply twisting a dial, you could replace not just the homeless but anyone who receives benefits, or wears cheap clothes, or has a regional accent, or watches ITV, and so on, right up the scale until it had obliterated all but the most grandiose royals.

At the time this seemed like a sick, far-off fantasy. By 2013, it’ll be just another customisable application you can download to your iBlinkers for 49p, alongside one that turns your friends into supermodels and your enemies into dormice.

And don’t go thinking augmented reality is going to be content with augmenting what you see. It’s a short jump from augmented vision (your beergut’s vanished and you’ve got a nice tan), to augmented audio (constant reactive background music that makes your entire life sound more like a movie), to augmented odour (break wind and it smells like a casserole), and augmented touch (what concrete bench? It feels like a beanbag). Eventually, painful sensations such as extreme temperature and acute physical discomfort could be remixed into something more palatable. With skilful use of technology, dying in a blazing fireball could be rendered roughly half as traumatic as, say, slightly snagging a toenail while pulling off a sock.

Some people will say there’s something sinister and wrong about all of this. They’ll claim it’s better to look at actual people and breathe actual air. But then they’ve never lived in Reading. And anyway, even if they’re right, we’ll all ignore them anyway, because the software will automatically filter them out the moment they open their mouths.

In other words, over the coming years we’re all going to be willingly submitting to the Matrix, injecting our eyes and ears with digital hallucinogens until there’s no point even bothering to change our pants any more. Frightening? No. In fact, I’ll scarcely notice.

Via The Guardian.

Comercial do The Guardian que abusa do direito de ser foda.

Coisa fina.

It seems that everyone is excited about social networks. But not quite in the same way as Harvard graduate student Erez Lieberman, whose evolutionary graph theory is encouraging people to think about social networks in a different way: as an evolving population.

Lieberman developed the theory with Harvard mathematics professor Martin Nowak, who helped to lay its foundation through the observation that while most of evolutionary theory deals with populations that have either simple shapes or no structure at all, the world around us is full of evolving systems with all kinds of internal structure – whether it’s the networks of cells present in the human body or the social networks that occur in cyberspace.

British-based social travel website Dopplr is being bought by mobile phone titan Nokia for around €15m (£13.5m), according to reports.

The boutique travel company, which is based in London and Helsinki, launched in 2007 as a way for frequent travellers to keep track of their movements. After receiving around €1.5m in funding from The Accelerator Group and a number of private investors, the company expanded into travel tips and forged a series of partnerships with high-end brands such as Mr & Mrs Smith and Monocle.

Porra, a Nokia mandou bem demais.

Do The Guardian

Tem uma matéria foda no The Guardian sobre IP, sigla gringa para Propriedade Intelectual. Como de hábito, muitas aspas:

Vice is an unusual media owner. The cocky, iconoclastic style magazine runs a pub near its east London headquarters, has its own clothing and record labels, runs an online TV site called VBS featuring films from the likes of Spike Jonze, and makes TV programmes for satellite stations in Mexico and Brazil. Its strangest move, however, came last week when the magazine launched 15 years ago by Montreal slackers opened its own in-house advertising agency – Virtue – and announced it would be handling the global full-service account of Pernod-Ricard’s vodka brand Wyborowa.

“We’re offering all agency services,” says Andrew Creighton, MD of Vice Europe and chief executive of Virtue. “We’ll make the ad, offering planning and account handling, do TV spots and everything apart from media buying, but we think our experience as a media owner has taught us that if you can create quality content for a client – mags, videos, documentaries and so forth – that people want, you have them coming to you rather than you pushing ads out on an unwilling public as was the old model.”

Esse parágrafo aí embaixo é foda, relacionando quedas nos custos de produção com o fim das barreiras de entrada no mercado:

Vice’s global network of writers, photographers, designers and artists will be available to clients. “Technology makes huge changes possible,” Creighton points out. “Cheap desk-top publishing software allowed us to launch the mag in the 90s, the internet allowed us to stream live TV to millions around the world. Essentially, when something becomes cheap and simple enough for idiots like us to use, that’s when the barriers to entry disappear. We were helping brands with projects almost since we launched – this is really just formalising that sort of relationship.”

Aí entra em campo uma questão ética, o que é conteúdo e o que é propaganda:

Creighton insists the lines between advertising and editorial will be strictly observed: “Clients can’t tell us what to write or film. It’s a very rigid wall between agency and mag/website, even though many of the same people will be working on both.” The old-school lines between client, agency and media owner have proved elastic as the recession and new media combine to squeeze the commercial media industry.

Obviamente que em uma matéria desse naipe não poderia faltar a Anomaly:

Anomaly has created a TV series with a New York restaurant’s head chef, a production company with British make-up Lauren Luke, a fashion joint venture with iTunes, a line of beauty products and a mobile commerce platform – advertising now accounts for less than half its revenue.

O cara fecha divinamente bem, se valendo do clássico Animal Farm, de George Orwell, para falar sobre a questão éticca:

Could this blurring end by looking like the final scene in Orwell’s Animal Farm – as our eyes flick from online to movie, to brand-funded documentary, to fizzy drink presence in TV drama, to products on shelves created by the agency that brokered the product placement deal for its joint venture with a cable channel … Well then, “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

Aê!!! Bate palma, porra! Assim é que se fecha um texto.