Internet justice is served for Twitter trolls and PR puppets

Security wonks, Wikipedia 'editors,' Fox Newsies -- the Internet gaveth, then tooketh away from these fakers and fibbers

You know Shark Week on the Discovery Channel? This is Troll Week on the Internet.

Actually, trolls have more in common with piranha -- small, vicious, single-minded creatures that kill you one small bite at a time -- but the concept is similar. This week, these anonymous haters are being outed in droves, and it couldn't happen to a more deserving group of people.

[ For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter and follow Cringely on Twitter. | Check out InfoWorld TechBrief, your source for quick, smart views on the news you'll be talking about -- subscribe today. ]

First up: Jofi Joseph. Who's that? Until today, he was a member of the National Security Council's nuclear nonproliferation team, working on negotiations with Iran. But he was also the pseudonymous Twitter account @NatSecWonk (since retired), which routinely savaged his own employers as well as members of the opposing team. Like this tweet:

Vitriol against @arifleischer entirely justified. He married a woman a decade younger than him - and she's as ugly as he is! #jackass

Yesterday, Joseph got canned, after a months-long investigation in which White House staffers pieced together clues from his voluminous tweets to figure out who he was. According to Politico, Joseph also operated another pseudo Twitter account called @DChobbyist where he doled out advice about dating professional escorts. (In Washington, D.C., it seems that everyone is a professional escort of one sort or another.)

Joseph is hardly the only person to be fired for trashing his bosses on social media. To his credit, at least he didn't spray out photos of his manhood to strange women on the InterWebs. He has that going for him.

Their wicked wiki ways

But NatSecWonk's outing is just one of a series of exposures of creatures who've been hiding under rocks for too long. Earlier this week, the folks behind Wikipedia ousted some 250 "editors" of the online encyclopedia, who were in fact employees of a public relations firm called Wiki-PR with the sole job of posting nice articles about their clients.

In this case, the editors were sock puppets -- a close cousin of trolls, but equally pernicious in their own way -- who pretended to be real users in order to post glowing comments about Wiki-PR's clients. Per the Daily Dot's Simon Owens, who first identified the source of the animatronic outfits:

Of the four Wiki-PR clients I interviewed, all found out about the company through its aggressive email marketing....

The former clients said they paid between $500 and $1,000 to have the page created, then an additional $50 a month afterward for "monitoring" -- basically Wiki-PR promised to track changes to their pages and resurrect them if any got deleted. If a client didn't meet Wikipedia's "notability" standard, Wiki-PR offered to generate articles about you.

Remember the old saw about believing half of what you see and none of what you hear? That goes double for Wikipedia.

1 2 Page 1