SlySpace, Fakebook and Twimposters

26 02 2009

The term cybersquatting was coined when websites first became publicy available.  People would buy domain names using company or brand names or the names of celebrities and then try to flog them back at inflated prices.  A similar thing is now happening in social networks but potentially the outcomes are far more damaging.

Individuals are signing up on facebook, twitter and across the web to the identities of celebrities, and sometimes brands too.  It costs them nothing and they are not selling the online persona back to their ‘rightful’ owners they are using them to impersonate.   For many the intentions have been harmless but not for all.  The fake Facebook account for Kate Winslett in which she apparently called her screen rival and fellow Oscar nominee Angelie  Jolie , a “fat-lipped crazy cow” amused Kate apparently but that might not always be the case.  A blog called Valebrity has taken on the task of validating celebrities on line and Jonathan Ross has appointed himself as twitter ‘star’ czar.

The act of impersonating others on twitter is also being used for political ends.  John Ransford the Chief Executive of the Local Government Association has a ‘Twimposter’ who has been actively defaming him for weeks and the leading light of the Labour new media movement Derek Draper has pointed people in the direction of a fake David Cameron.

Companies and brands should be cautious too, with the growth of the social web and the velocity at which content spreads, charlatans of  the social web may be ot there doing real harm to their business.





Oscars Leak Rumour

21 02 2009

Rumours are circulating the internet that the winners list for the 81st Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been leaked.  The evidence is a letter supposedly from President of the Academy, Sid Gannis.  This blog has no intention of publishing the list but if you are determined to have a look, the letter ‘real or fake’ can be found here.

All the evidence suggests that the list is a fake. Only two partners of the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers are supposed know the results before the envelopes are opened onstage and so the president should not have this information, let alone have committed it to paper.  What it demonstrates is that with the surge in peer to peer media and the explosion of user generated content has become very difficult to keep a secret.  I hope the letter is a forgery because if it isn’t it is a spoiler in every sense. 

The way the web is now we want instant answers.  The Academy’s PR machine has shown itself to be as reactively poor as it is pro-actively brilliant.  I am sure that they would claim they should not dignify such leaks with a reponse but in an increasingly transparent world that lack of any official word on the Academy website can only fuel the rumours.








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