AlterNet Investigation on Right-Wing Censorship of Digg Makes Huge Waves on the Internet


"Massive Censorship Of Digg Uncovered," an investigative article published on AlterNet by the News Junkie Post's Ole Ole Olson on Thursday spread like wildfire through the media and social networking sites, from ABC News and the Washington Post to film critic Roger Ebert and Digg founder and CEO Kevin Rose's Twitter feeds.

The Atlantic Monthly's Jared Keller writes, "There's been a tremendous uproar in the social media world since AlterNet published a story accusing a group of influential social media users of actively engaging in political "censorship" on, the popular social news network." ABC News' article, by Ki Mae Heussner summarizes Olson's story: "A group of conservative members of the popular link-sharing website Digg may be deliberately suppressing liberal stories submitted to the site. ... AlterNet said an undercover investigation revealed that the group of about one hundred conservative members is able to bury 90 percent of articles by certain websites and stories within three hours of their submission."

Major online- and technology-focused sites dug into the story, including Mashable, CNET, PC Magazine, and ReadWriteWeb:

Ben Parr of Mashable explores the fallout of the story:

The revelation of the Digg Patriots censorship conspiracy is a major black eye for the social media giant Kevin Rose built. It undermines the fundamental credibility of Digg itself. If 100 users can single-handedly tilt one of the world’s top websites to the right by controlling thousands of stories, how can you really rely on Digg as a valid source for the web’s top news stories? For what it’s worth, Kevin Rose tweeted that the company is “looking into this,” as it should be.

There’s not much the team can do about what’s already happened, though; those stories are forever buried. Banning the users involved in the Digg Patriots helps, but it doesn’t solve the fundamental issue: that Digg is easily gamed.

The story has been itself "dugg" 10,000 times, Reddited approximately 3,000 times, linked to across other social news sites like MetaFilter, and featured on hundreds of blogs (click here for a sample). British actor Stephen Fry tweeted the story to his 1.6 million followers, along with Roger Ebert and thousands of others.

More news coverage of the story:

Alternet Uncovers Right-Wing Group Conspiring to Manipulate Digg's Front Page -- Leon Neyfakh, New York Observer

Digg investigates claims of conservative 'censorship' -- Josh Halliday, Guardian UK

Digg under attack from "Digg Patriots" hackers - Digg rankings in question -- Yobie Benjamin, San Francisco Chronicle

Digg, dug, buried: Linux -- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Computer World 

Go here to see the other news sites that have reported on the story.

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