Google backlash

This was to be expected. The poor Ilkka Pöyry who has filed a defamation suit against Jani of has been Googlebombed. So, if you now search Google for Ilkka Pöyry you will end up in the Finnish blogs and can now read the whole story.

The name "Ilkka Pöyry" is now permanently (well, nearly anyway) linked to this incident, and because of the fact that bloggers have started to chew on it, it will only gain more Googlejuice as time goes on. And that will be very, very, very hard to remove from the Internet. Especially now that US and Swedish websites have latched onto the story, the word is out.

As I said, suing highly interconnected bloggers in world where search engines are the kings, is not a very smart tactic, if you want to keep your name clean. Even if, as in this case, the outrage is mostly around the police overstepping their boundaries, and not on the defamation suit itself.

I don't want to say that bloggers are a community, but bloggers in general should be aware of their power and the responsibility that comes with it: an angry mob can cause hard damage to people (as witnessed in the USA with bloggers "hunting for scalps"). One blog may be insignificant, but in mass blogs can be a force to be reckoned with. Which can be dangerous.


It definitely is dangerous since bloggers do hardly any background work and mainly focus on what one said on the matter. And more often or not they tend to take the bloggers side. The other part of the case is rarely heard as should be in fair society. Newspapers always try to interview both parties involved to get objective story.

Bloggers have power and in cases like this, they might be more like an angry mob trying to hang someone without fair trial.

In Internet one should be very careful about his name, because the wrong connotations cannot be removed. Ever.

It is easier to change name.

--Soopa, 25-Feb-2005

True. Though I do hope that some bloggers will "float towards the top" for either being known for thorough research (many bloggers are experts on their own subject areas), or just eloquent speaking. Preferably both.

There's also a certain problem with newspapers trying to cover both sides: for example, about 999 out of 1000 scientists feel that humans are causing the global warming. However, since newspapers need to give the opposing view, the coverage on global warming much closer to 80-20 than the 999-1 that would be "fair".

Newspapers work as low-pass filters that cut off the "sharp edges" of journalism by trying to present a calm, balanced (though often biased) view on the subject. Bloggers, on the other hand, are all about the sharp edges, high rises and quick change.

I'm beginning to think that Sarasvuo's "attention economy" is not just inane drivel that many people like to label it. Perhaps the man actually has a point...

--JanneJalkanen, 25-Feb-2005

Its scary to see how the society reacts to this peer-to-peer defamation problem. Option one is defamation legislation becoming obsolete (probable, a little scary), while option two is increasing the scale of repercussions (a lot scary). This repercussion-thing might be done through reparations: losing one's name in the eyes of Google might be worth tens or hundreds of thousands dollars in some case.

- M

--, 28-Feb-2005

I doubt that linking to defamatory material can be made illegal. That would simply open a too big a can of worms - mostly because it would mean "guilty until proven innocent".

Imagine if I suddenly went nuts and removed all material on this website and used the space to slander some person very heavily. Anyone linking to me would then have to prove that they had the links in place before I changed the site, thus essentially making them criminal, unless they can prove otherwise.

A system where the accused have to prove their innocence or face jail without doing anything should be unacceptable to anyone with a sense of justice. Not to mention it would kill the interconnected nature of the internet, as nobody would dare to link to anyone anymore...

Unfortunately, it is in the human nature. Even if a person is cleared of all charges, people would still think "what if..." Not many parents would be willing to give their child to a babysitter that has been suspected of child molesting, even if the police him not guilty.

--JanneJalkanen, 28-Feb-2005

More info...     Comments?   Back to weblog
"Main_blogentry_240205_2" last changed on 25-Feb-2005 00:00:44 EET by JanneJalkanen.