unfettered commentary more entertaining
El Reg should know about that eh...
Google News is allowing Digg-style reader comments. Sort of. Today, on the official Google News blog, software engineers Dan Meredith and Andy Golding announced a "new, experimental feature" that gives readers the power to publicly comment on stories turned up by the site's news aggregator - if they're actually involved in the …
This scheme seems less about letting the subjects of news articles speak out than verifying their online identities.
Excuse me for being cynical, but I imagine a validated database of newsworthy peoples' contact details could be quite valuable. Especially when you start cross-referencing it with all that information on the web.
So I now get the opportunity to consolidate the adverts I post (and the website(s) I run), with the adverts I buy, with the searches I do, with where I live, with my bank account details, and now, my views on current affairs.
Wow - thank you, Google..
I never used to delete my Google cookie; with the new search-history thing, I will definitely be setting up a script to get me a new cookie daily.
How will this work in the case of crimes, where the accused is out on bail, and has internet access; or controversial stories where there are two groups of people arguing with each other about e.g. a scientific discovery, or a bridge collapse? It seems like a recipe for lawsuits.
I can see a Kenneth Noye-style gang boss, for example, up on trial for tax evasion, using the comments to make veiled threats to potential jurors, or asking his lawyer or a friend to post comments on his behalf. "This story is nonsense, the prosecution haven't got a leg to stand on, the money was only resting in my account, and anyone who thinks otherwise has another think coming if they plan on collecting a pension".
This feature will be used by stalkers and madmen as a vehicle for threats and abuse. Big companies, or the deranged, will flood the stories with comments supporting their position or damning the opposition. People will impersonate officials, and the Google Seal of Veracity will give those impersonations extra weight.
The comments at something like Digg or Slashdot are frequently psychotic, but they are trivial because they are from anonymous nobodies. When actual real human beings with real names, faces, criminal records etc are brought into the equation it all becomes a lot riskier.
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