Dec 23, 2006

Digg continues to battle phony stories | CNET

Digg continues to crack down on users who plant phony stories on behalf of marketers, recently deleting a user who posted a story about a company that offered to compensate him.

Link to Digg continues to battle phony stories | CNET

As Dan Mitchell at the New York Times comments:

When marketers and spammers try to manipulate the rankings to promote a company, product or Web site, the system breaks down.

Link to Stuffing the Electronic Ballot Box | New York Times 


Bob said...

So what's the answer? For every 1 that the host finds and deletes, there are 30 more who use software and keyboards to spam the rankings.

Does this undermine the whole future utility of "social networking" or only parts of it?

Karen Hobert said...

Undermine might be a strong term, it certainly makes it harder to maintain credibility. While the operators of the site (e.g., Digg) can put into place procedures and policies to validate the content, at some point it's the decision of the user as to the credibility and usefulness of the service. Wikipedia has run into situations where they've had posters who have "spammed" entries and have had to take drastic punitive measures to demonstrate that they aren't going to put up with it. Looks like Digg is in the same boat. So some technology can be applied, policing (at the risk of editorializing) is done, and the system becomes more complex.

The operative word here for me is "social". Credibility is ultimately a social judgement. One each of us makes every day. I have friends who I hold the utmost respect for, except when it comes to their taste in movies. So I basically don't ask them their opinion on movies since I usually don't feel the same.

The fate of Digg (and other social sites) depends on how credible they can remain. Like the media, they need to take steps to assure their content is believable and useful. Of course much of that will depend on their business model and what they are trying to accomplish as a service. The final proof comes from the users who will decide if the service is one they can trust. The fact that marketers (armed with The Tipping Point) are using Digg and Digg authors to "spin" the results is validation that Digg is, at this point, a respected information source.