Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Character Assassination 

This story and this one too reveal an evil side of human nature on the web. It is viral character assassination -- rumors that get passed around at the speed of electrons and for which there are no antidotes. Because the rumors come from people one knows, they have credibility that spam doesn't have. And, because they are sent by e-mail, it is hard to detect them through online monitoring unless someone posts them in a forum or a friendly person is a recipient of a message.

Viral character assassination is not new. There have been other examples in the last 10 years. The danger is that it has become a standard practice with unfortunate outcomes, as is happening in Korea. There is no safety in telling people not to believe gossip. They are only too ready to accept bad news about celebrities and candidates. The best one can do is to fight rumors with facts as soon as one discovers them. But, even that is not enough in some circumstances.


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