1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Craigslist founder: 'Most' online outrage is faked for profit

By Polycount · 16 replies
Jul 15, 2019
Post New Reply
  1. Internet classified website Craigslist hasn't changed much over the years, and neither has its founder, Craig Newmark. He is still the same nerdy bird-lover (to use his own terms) he always was.

    However, the same cannot be said for the digital landscape surrounding Craigslist, which has shifted quite a bit. In a new interview with The Guardian, Newmark gave his opinions on these changes and the current state of social media, the web, and other topics.

    You can read his remarks in full right here, but one of the more interesting statements Craig offered during his interview was about the "outrage culture" (as it is often described) we see throughout the modern-day web:

    Americans are much more reasonable and moderate than what you might guess when you see a little Twitter war. But I'm guessing that the purpose of many Twitter wars is to polarise people and, in fact, we've seen that happen because you can often trace some of the fighting groups to the same location. Most of the outrage I've seen in the online world – I would guess 80% – someone's faking it for profit.

    That's a pretty bold statement and will likely generate some controversy, but Newmark is confident in his beliefs. "When you're looking at tens or hundreds of ads in a day you get a better grasp of what people are really like than the more dramatic flare-ups," he explained to The Guardian. "So that's the basis for my optimism."

    Newmark certainly has a point. With the rise of social media, opinions and "hot takes" have become quite common. They're easy and fast to publish, and they don't necessarily require much (if any) prior thought or research before they can go live in front of millions of potential users.

    With how fast information spreads in the modern age, it isn't unreasonable for him to believe that some shadier individuals may use these trends to their advantage. So, what's the solution to this problem, if it does indeed exist?

    Newmark doesn't lay out any specific ideas -- at least, none that were published in The Guardian's article -- but he does emphasize the importance of goodwill and "[getting] together and [working] together for the common good" against the "bad actors" who happen to have particularly loud voices at this point in time.

    For Newmark, that means continuing to donate to and support professional journalistic outlets like Consumer Reports, in the hopes that they will use the funding and their existing expertise to tackle the issue of social media misinformation head-on in the future via accurate, quality reporting.

    Newmark's thoughts aside, we're curious to hear what you think. Do you agree with him that most modern outrage is manufactured, or do you feel it is more organic in nature? Let us know in the comments.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,529   +3,095

    ...who doesn't like the twitter. Isn't this ironic?
    Hexic and lexster like this.
  3. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 535   +265

    And he's likely right.
    Impudicus likes this.
  4. amghwk

    amghwk TS Guru Posts: 542   +330

    What he says is true in one form or another. Nowadays it's just an attention grabbing, click-baiting, opportunistic profit-making generation.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,504   +5,067

    Well I'm not making a damn thing from my outrage, so I call BS. :)
    Morris Minor, wiyosaya, Puiu and 3 others like this.
  6. paul1122

    paul1122 TS Rookie

    I'm pissed off BECAUSE I'm not making any money off it. Round and round we go. :p
    psycros and cliffordcooley like this.
  7. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,610   +595

    cliffordcooley likes this.
  8. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,778   +2,592

    The oft-ignored moderate libertarians have been saying for a couple decades now that the us-vs-them mentality stoked by the two main political parties is a sham and a distraction. Its like the dancing gypsy in the village square who entertains you while the rest of her family picks your pockets.
    Odium, adamada, Burty117 and 4 others like this.
  9. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 535   +265

    I'm with you, that's freaky and hilarious!
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  10. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 2,000   +1,535

    Peoples opinions on the internet are fake.
  11. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,219   +1,657

    If it bleeds it leads.

    Sadly people seem to be drawn to drama for some reason. If you remember the show iCarly, they had a couple of episodes about a "fake" outrage which boosted their viewing.

    You can even use TS as an example. Which articles have the most comments? Not the ones about the latest and greatest tech or software. Instead the ones about so in so who is an tech company executive, youtube celb, twitch celb, etc said or did something really bad.
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,119   +2,406

    Absolutely! IMO, we have all known for a long time that a large portion is stoked by showmanship looking for ratings and appealing to base feelings like rage and anger. As I see it, it happens on both sides of the aisle - especially so, the extreme ends.

    As I see it, money has taken the place of a higher purpose these days. And with that, respect has died. The more one slams another, the more profit they are likely to make.

    I usually do not care much for the Beatles, but I think they had it down with "I, Me, Me, Mine." To me, many have forgotten that humanity tends to do its best work when it works together - and that takes respect for one another.
    cliffordcooley and stewi0001 like this.
  13. lexster

    lexster TS Guru Posts: 535   +265

    Interesting. Tell us more.
  14. jpuroila

    jpuroila TS Enthusiast Posts: 73   +40

    I don't think all THAT much outrage is (completely)faked. The real problem is that platforms like Twitter and Youtube go out of their way to maximize the amount of outrage, so that incidents that would normally piss off a few dozen people instead spread to catch thousands if not tens of thousands.
  15. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 691   +668

    I think there's also a culture of one-upping others' outrage. The way people get more attention for themselves is in reacting more extremely than everyone else. You're outraged? Well I'm SUPER outraged! It's incredibly damaging for discourse and unhealthy even just for individuals' minds, yet it's what generates the clicks.

    The myriad knock-on effects are also terrible for society at large. Whoever shouts the loudest on one side ends up being the stereotype the other side looks to. This is one of the reasons that rightwing folks think everyone on the left is an SJW, communist, snowflake, and leftwing folks think everyone on the right is a seig-heiling, racist, bible thumper. Sure, on each side there are some people that fit those bewildering categories, but the overwhelming majority on each side are decent, honest people who just have slight differences in the methods and principles they think will lead to a better world.

    But you'd never know that from scouring the internet, because the more cartoon-like a 'commentator' seems in their overdone, overblown outrage, the larger an audience they receive - from critics and fans alike.
  16. Impudicus

    Impudicus TS Addict Posts: 148   +116

    In the end it's all clickbait.
  17. lazer

    lazer TS Addict Posts: 249   +59

    I don't pay attention to the on line chatter; from my experience most people don't know what they are talking about and keep talking anyway. I'd rather spend my time offline with books (yes paper books) and learn about what I do not know than to read posts from *****s who 'feel' that they are soooo correct.

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...