Tyranny of the online majority
Date: 11:30 am | Sunday 9 October 2011
Venue: RiAus Auditorium
From flash protests in Egypt (organised via social networks) to the online vigilantism of groups like “Anonymous”, technology allows small groups to promote or attack ideologies and to manipulate online public opinion. Corporations and governments may hire professional social media experts to spread propaganda and to stifle dissent using fake personas and sock puppet accounts. A loosely knit collective of individuals may quickly evolve into a large grassroots political activism or “hacktivism” project. Conversely, front groups can be established by corporations and governments to create the appearance of a legitimate grassroots campaign. How do these compare with activist, pay-for-comment and PR stunts of the past? Will the evolution of technology continue to give a platform for the free expression of ideas online, or will the channels of communication be corrupted and appropriated by corporations and governments to form and manipulate public opinions?