IT News Thread, BBC News - Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web in Other News; The BBC has an article up about how fake forum and review site comments are making people think twice about ...
BBC News - Fake forum comments are 'eroding' trust in the web
The BBC has an article up about how fake forum and review site comments are making people think twice about the information they get off the net. TBH, I, along with most of you I suspect, can spot these a mile off as I find they are usually to in depth when it comes to pushing a product, as well as mentioning the product by name many times in a post (hardly needed when generally the thread will only be about that product/service) to boost net rankings, and negative comments are the same as they tend to be very precise about many aspects of the thing being discussed. The worst I find are those on hotel review sites. It's like a battleground on them!
The researchers say the fake comments can overwhelm some users, causing them to find it hard to trust any information found online.
They give the example of a spike in activity on a World of Warcraft chat forum on the Chinese website Baidu.
A thread titled "Junpeng Jia, your mother asked you to go back home for dinner!" received over 300,000 replies over a two day period.
A PR company later claimed it had employed 800 individuals to run 20,000 separate accounts on the site to help maintain interest in the videogame while it was down for maintenance.
Who really trusts end-user review comments though? Far too many of them are full of:
"I'm voting this device 1 star out of 5 because I'm too dumb to rtfm"
"It was pink and I didn't want pink" (it's only available in pink)
"Delivery was very slow, so I'm only rating this product 3/5" (HTF is that related to the product review?)
"It was raining all holiday, so I'm giving this hotel 2/10"
And (on the forums I frequent) it's pretty easy to spot astroturfing and spammers. Mainly because they stand out like sore thumbs. On more mainstream not-a-geeky-sysadmin forums I can see if being an issue.