Highlights Internet Personal

Protests in the time of Friendster and Google bombing

When you say protest action, the typical tibak or activist will tell you about methods in staging rallies, what to bring in gatherings etc. (in my time they told us to bring toothpaste and a hanky and to write the name of a lawyer and his phone number in our wrist). Online protests don’t seem to be part of the arsenal of political activists.

Critics of President Arroyo, for example, limit their actions to organizing assemblies, staging rallies and face-offs with riot police. But in a period when many of the youth spend a lot of time online, political activists would do well to take the campaign into social networks like Friendster or Multiply.

For those with websites, they can even google bomb the president’s page so that it will be the one displayed when you press I’m Feeling Lucky while searching for, let’s say, “liar” or “cheat” or “fake president.” US President Bush’s biography page was google bombed, that’s why it’s the page displayed when you search for “failure” and click on the I’m Feeling Lucky button.

The I’m Feeling Lucky or Sinuswerte Ako result for “liar” is a Japanese website with the word liar in its domain name. Still, the site only has 783 inbound links. If a thousand bloggers link liar to the President’s page, it will be the one displayed for the I’m Feeling Lucky result.

MalacaƱang, on the other hand, can fight back and ask sites of its supporters to link liar to the webpage of an opposition official or the website of an organization it particularly dislikes.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.