In 2008, a teenager on CNN’s iReport, it’s citizen journalism website, reported that Steve Jobs has suffered a heart attack. The result? This teenager’s digital attack caused one of the world’s best known brands to lose millions of dollars in stock value within minutes. There were accusations of hedge funds and short sellers of profiting off internet rumors about the heart attack.
Digital attacks can have consequences.
Like losing millions of dollars in minutes.
The greedy can hurt your brand, reputation, personal life or stock with the lure of pure fiction propelled by the internet’s instant global reach.Unknown people use the internet for unknown reasons to muddy brands and reputations without fear of a reckoning. The new social media environment enhances the vulgarization of business culture by airing vituperation among elites. Powerful competitors knock worthy projects as easily as a race car can tip an opponent into a tailspin.
IS DIGITAL WARFARE FOR REAL? SERIOUSLY ?
Digital assassins come in many avatars. From disgruntled employees, to angry consumers, to business rivals, to anonymous sociopaths. These assassins gone mad with money, sex, power and envy will use technology to fire a malicious story to weaken, wound and defeat you. Now, character assassination is not to be confused with bad publicity, especially self-inflicted. Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer were not character assassinated. They self-destructed. So then, let’s discuss deliberate character assassination…
Digital assassination begins as a willful act by someone who wishes to do harm through the internet. It unfolds a deliberate campaign to spread harmful lies that the perpetrator has concocted about you or as an attempt to take a fact about you grossly out of context or embellish it, making an ordinary shortcoming seem ghastly. Words are then forged into swords to be thrust into the gut.
Digital warfare is most effective when others – as knowing conspirators or unknowing parrots – are incited by social media to thrust swords of their own. the result is multiple cuts and stabs, leaving a permanent, searchable Internet record that continues to harm your brand, fan base, relationships or reputation among friends, customers, investors and other media on a 24/7 basis. This power of the new digital warfare to destroy is as powerful as YouTube, but as old as civilization. With the new technology, digital warfare use more than a few new platforms from which to attack.
In the days of the old media, you had obvious ways to counter a bad story. There were ombudsmen, op-eds and letters to the editor, advertising opportunities and plenty of competitors willing to let you tell your side. Now, when a negative thread appears about you on the internet, you’ll never know for sure who read it, how it was received, or whether a separate targeted campaign was mounted to directly deliver it to your friends, customers, clients, employers and significant others. Today, in this new media, you may never know how deep the wound is until it manifests itself in the form of murdered opportunity, both personal and financial.
So then, what can be done?
Defamed takes an analytical and anecdotal approach to the new phenomenon of Online Defamation. This is needed because many services today tend to get lost in technology, as well as its platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Ripoffreport, Yelp, and the rest – as if the basis of the problem is technology itself. We base our efforts on the fact that human behavior, not technology, which is the driving factor behind this dark side of the internet.
No one is bulletproof in the digital world. Take steps to show a digital assassin you are not an easy mark.