And I Thought They Were Muppets!

I didn’t know they called it sock puppeting. Here’s a quote from today’s New York Times:

“This digital-age deception has a name, ‘sock-puppeting,’ and a precise definition — the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one’s self, allies or company.”

Speaking of the John Mackey masquerade I wrote about in Huffington Post last week, NYT titles its story The Hand That Controls the Sock Puppet Could Get Slapped. It’s interesting reading.

The Times says the Securities and Exchange Commission has begun an investigation. I did say I thought it was illegal, but I wasn’t sure, and in fact neither are they.

The Times story also chronicles some other CEO “sock puppetry.” One CEO has been convicted of mail fraud and obstruction of justice and faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison. Others have been publicly embarrassed. And some CEOs write under their own names, voicing their own opinions, without the problems of what I called pseudonymity last week.

On a related but tangential note, between sock puppetry and pseudonymity, it’s getting to be a hard world for editors. My writing tools kept complaining with red wavy lines, but I finally silenced them with a resolute “Add to dictionary.” Thank goodness the English language, and most word processors, can take it.

— Tim


  • Steven Silvers says:

    From Scatterbox:
    Despite the PR and social media pundits, there’s not much to learn from the Whole Foods fiasco.

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