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Attack of the blogs!
Friday, October 28, 2005
The cover story of Forbes begins "Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective."

Forgetting that perhaps there's an upside to a blogosphere that's growing at the rate of one blog a second, Forbes describes faux-blogs that companies use to trash competitors and sneaky investors use to drive down stock prices.
Blogs started a few years ago as a simple way for people to keep online diaries. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns. It's not easy to fight back: Often a bashing victim can't even figure out who his attacker is. No target is too mighty, or too obscure, for this new and virulent strain of oratory.

Some companies now use blogs as a weapon, unleashing swarms of critics on their rivals. "I'd say 50% to 60% of attacks are sponsored by competitors," says Bruce Fischman, a lawyer in Miami for targets of online abuse. He says he represents a high-tech firm thrashed by blogs that were secretly funded by a rival; the parties are in talks to settle out of court.
Forbes points to a real problem: libel from anonymous sources. However, their reporter tells a goofy tale, for he generalizes as if all bloggers were cut from the same cloth. This is like trashing people who use pen and paper because some use them to write ransom notes.


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