Israel's ‘high-tech ballot-stuffing’, aka Lobbyware®
They'll use every trick in the book and every gadget invented to get a leg up on the truth.
BBC History Magazine was forced to remove an online poll after it was targeted by a project aimed at influencing internet opinion in Israel's favour.But, just because he doesn't see a problem, doesn't mean there is none.* * *
The long-running BBC History Magazine poll posed the question: "Do you think holocaust denial should be made illegal in Britain?" Soon after it was targeted by Megaphone, the poll was pulled. The magazine declined to speak to The Register about the episode.
Prior to contacting The Register, our source corresponded with the magazine. Staff writer Robert Attar wrote at the end of August: "I am aware about this situation. I had a look at their site and all they have done is encouraged their members to vote on the polls which seems legitimate to me. It would also be extremely difficult to prevent groups of people voting in this way. As our polls are not used for any scientific or academic purpose I don't see the problem."
Other interested parties have called for the initiative to try and stay under the radar. Former Israeli consul-general in New York Alon Pinkas told the Jerusalem Post: "Once it is out there that these are organized talkbacks, then anytime anything positive appears on the web, people will say it is manufactured in Israel."If pro-Palestinian groups are using Megaphone. I ain't seeing it. People who have truth on their side tend to overestimate their position in the media war, as they think that truth speaks for itself.
While the loss of the BBC History poll is relatively inconsequential in the grand scheme, it points to a new highly organised mass manipulation of technologies which are supposed to be democratising and encouraging free expression by individuals.
Megaphone has no registration or identity check, so nothing would stop those opposed to Israel downloading Megaphone and using its alerts to voice opinions against its activities, however. Inevitably, a hacked version already exists which replaces Israeli flags with Palestinian ones and alters some of the text.
However it is used, Megaphone is effectively a high-tech exercise in ballot-stuffing. We're calling it lobbyware.®
However, Israelis know that repeating a lie often enough goes a long way. And targeting opinion polls - as unscientific as they are - is highly effective.
Opinion polls invariably give the impression that they represent public opinion and people all over the world, whether they care to admit it or not, are affected by public opinion.
Israelis know that at heart, every adult on the planet is like a little kid when it comes to peer pressure - no one likes to be the bad guy on the block. So, they target public opinion polls to make it appear that Israel is loved, when in fact it's despised.
Nice try. But, no cigar.