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<nettime> The coming pointer wars, or everyone is a Yes Man
Morlock Elloi on Mon, 6 Aug 2012 00:08:47 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The coming pointer wars, or everyone is a Yes Man

The latest injection of the fake New York Times op-ed article may be signaling a new wave of (ab)use of an inherent architectural feature in today's "world wide web": the wide adoption of end-user MLM schemes (aka "social networks", the world's biggest Tupperware parties) means that most references to web pages now go through end-user's hands.

In other words, the links controlled by the web site operator (say, LA Times of MSNBC) are less frequently used directly - instead, they are passed to others via end-user intervention. During this intervention the link can be changed or faked.

Impersonating a site's page while subtly changing or skillfully faking content is a relatively trivial copy/paste operation. No one checks slight misspellings in the URL.

This means that it is easy to snatch a piece of media outlet's 24/7 footprint. That real estate is the only real value the outlets have. It does not matter if the output is truth or lies. What matters is the 24/7 control of the narrative. Just look at the reactions to the above mentioned op-ed forgery: everyone agrees that it was fake, but that does not matter. What matters is that the captive, rightfully-owned audience was imprinted with a wrong content. The damage has been irreparably done. Perhaps 0.01% of NYT's 2012 real estate has been lost forever. 

This has been duly noticed by all parties.

It is interesting to see how this develops. There is no immediate technical remedy available to media site operators - no one is touching the original web site. The rogue hosted page can be anywhere in the world. Few hours of effort, combined with networking, can be more effective than occupy-ing for days.

What will likely happen is that MLM sites will develop "link antivirus" technology, but the window will stay open for many months.

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