The Dark Side of the Internet: ad fraud, bots, fake news, influencer scandals

Posted on: 17/01/2018, by :

It has been over a year since I last updated this website, primarily due to lack of time. Another reason, is that I can barely recognise the Internet.  The political earthquakes witnessed in 2016 and 2017, seemed to have dramatically changed how we interact with social media platforms, and not in a good way.

We’ve seen ad fraud on an unprecented levelbots, the rise of astroturfing, fake news and even influencer scandals (albeit not politically related!).

On the topic of bots, I highly recommend Mike Hind and Mentionmapp‘s brilliant Disinformation Age podcast, which offer insights into bots and astroturfing strategies. The bot phenomenon is fascinating. For example, the infamous @DavidJoBrexit was ousted as a Russian bot last August. Having interacted quite a bit with the ‘bot’, I am however convinced that the account is manned by a real human based in the UK.

Interestingly however, bots can also wage a war against brands. Mike Hind and Mentionmapp investigated how the taxi trade launched a bot campaign against Uber in October last year.

Are marketers actively using bots to market/astroturf their products? As consumers, can we still trust brands online?

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2 thoughts on “The Dark Side of the Internet: ad fraud, bots, fake news, influencer scandals

  1. I’m seconding John. Also, I am sure you’re right about @DavidJoBrexit (formerly @DavidJo52951945) being a UK-based account. The danger of the proliferation of disinformation in general is that all sides of the political divide seem to be either doing it or suckering for it. Basically, everyone is simply choosing to believe what suits their own agenda, rather than the things for which they have evidence.

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