Latest Online Trolling Tactic: Claiming Public Images Are Copyright Protected
Guest essayist Vixen Valentino delves into corporate PR agents who use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to hide their trail of industry deceit.
Hello readers, we are hosting a guest essay from Vixen Valentino, an environmental activist and blogger who loves exposing the rot inside the chemical industry. Today, she’s walking people through a new type of trolling deployed by agents for Monsanto, in this case, a purported “indepdendent biologist” from Somerville, Mass. named Mary Mangan, who spends most waking hours cheerleading for the despised agrichemical giant.
If you come away from this essay still thinking Somerville’s Mary Mangan is credible, please leave a comment. Even still, please leave a comment.
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8 minute read
We’ve all encountered online personas who make social media a treacherous place to share your thoughts and musings. Being attacked online for an opinion—or even sharing a news article—isn’t unusual for anyone who has spent a little time using social media platforms to communicate—think Facebook, Instagram, and that hellscape called Twitter.
But if you reveal information on controversial topics—especially news that might harm lucrative industries—be prepared to face coordinated attacks involving multinational PR companies, working to silence and shame you as “anti-science.” I’m not speaking theoretically.
Guardian columnist Carey Gillam uncovered dozens of internal documents from Monsanto discussing their 50-page strategy document to harm her reputation, as revenge after she reported on the agrochemical giant. Monsanto’s plan included gaming search results of her name that would lead readers to a derogatory blog about her, and hiring people to write negative reviews of her book.
I write a pretty non-serious blog, called Sick Of It All, where for almost a decade I have been sharing my observations of the Skeptic movement and their ties to various corporate front groups and industries. Skeptics have been a conduit for disinformation from the chemical and other industries for…probably as long as there have been online, self-styled Skeptics. These are the roving hordes of writers you run across in comment sections of news articles, and they are mostly comprised of white males who troll people over dihydrogen monoxide (water), label women concerned about chemicals like BPA or Teflon as “chemophobes,” and lob fiery arrows of contempt at sick people rather than try to understand the fine details of complex illnesses.
All in the name of “defending science.”