How Right-Wingers Rig Digg

According to Ole Ole Olson at The Public Record, over the past year an invitation-only Yahoo group called "Digg Patriots" has been systematically pushing right-wing content and "burying" liberal views on Digg.com.


This, of course, violates Digg's terms of use (see "User Conduct," Item 9, here). More importantly, it contradicts the notion that transparency, openness and "the wisdom of crowds" are enough to keep social media honest. It wasn't the hive mind that unearthed the conspiracy that Olson describes. It was one determined journalist—him. Yes, he admits, Digg 4.0 will implement important changes in the service's procedures (getting rid of the "bury" button, for instance). But he also reports that the conspirators were recently discussing how to subvert the new Digg as they apparently subverted today's.

According to him, the conservative conspiracy against Digg began crudely, with exhortations on the Free Republic site to digg the stuff that Free Republic people want to promote: "All I’m asking you to do is vote for an article at Digg and then leave." Digg's community was more than equal to this kind of attempted manipulation. So last year, Olson writes, the activists created Digg Patriots on Yahoo (since his report, the group appears to have shut down). There, they planned campaigns to digg right-wing content and bury stuff from the left.

They also, Olson said, created multiple profiles (including fake African-Americans who complained of leftie racism). Digg users who tried to call them out were targeted for attack. "We need to mine his stuff," Olson quotes one poster in the Digg Patriots group. "I think if we look hard enough, we can get him banned. We should form a team to mine his submission and another to mine his comments for incriminating material."

Olson doesn't say how or when "our researchers" got access to the closed Digg Patriots group. If this report holds up, though, he has done all Diggers a service, exactly the sort that can't be performed by a multitude.

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