Digg manipulation

Silicon Valley Sleuth reported this morning how several stories about Google buying Sun suspiciously made it to the front page of Digg.com. These "baseless rumours" were all submitted and promoted by a small group of Digg members that seemed to be working together.

I found this story through Digg itself, where it was posted on the front page. It later mysteriously disappeared from Digg though, and a URL search indicated that the story was since marked as "buried".

The Digg Blog says the following about this burying feature:

Digg now allows logged in users to bury stories as 'inaccurate'. Once enough people bury the story, it is removed from the queue and the following banner is displayed at the top:

No banner is displayed though, which makes me wonder if it was buried because enough people marked it as inaccurate (the same people who were promoting these Google+Sun stories maybe?) or whether an admin removed it in an effort to hide how easily Digg can be manipulated. There's currently an update on Silicon Valley Sleuth stating that it seems unlikely the Digg system was actually manipulated in this case, but this update wasn't there when the story was buried, and also doesn't make the theoretical possibility of this happening any less likely.

Due to the automated nature of Digg (which uses user-votes to determine how prominently to display a story) it certainly seems possible for a group of people to get together and promote stories in order to get them onto the coveted front page, while at the same time burying stories they don't like. Worse than that, what would stop someone from automating this process and creating a couple hundred accounts for this purpose? To reduce suspicion, these accounts could digg random stories from time to time, or even undigg stories once they've made it to the front page.

If this is not going on already, I predict it will soon. Compared to the trouble BlogSpammers are going through in order to game sites like Google, DayPop or Blogdex, gaming Digg seems relatively easy. While Digg claims to have ways to prevent manipulation, one can't help but wonder whether it's enough, and I'm sure there are plenty of spammers out there just dying to beat the system...

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I totally agree.
Digg is already manipulated. It is not only possible to bury stories they don't like - it is possible to block entire domain (block future stories) when there are "enough middle-man reports". I removed links to digg from my blog.

Posted by Anatoly Lubarsky at March 18, 2006 6:06 AM

Digg manipulation, Scoble comments and more...

Trackback from Anatoly Lubarsky at March 19, 2006 10:37 AM

Exactly why to use Slashdot as your only credible source of news.

Posted by ac at April 6, 2006 1:47 AM

Slashdot has alot of great information what is wrong with using slashdot for information?

Posted by Stephanie at April 12, 2006 7:58 PM

There have already been quite a few incidents about this stuff. Kevin Rose discussed it at length, including their countermeasures in a This Week In Tech episode roughly two or three months ago.

Posted by John at July 12, 2006 12:40 AM

The problem now is that Digg has become the censor of the information pipeline.

They now determine exactly where you get your info from.

My site has been labeled as a "middle-man" yet I have science, technology, and health stories on my site BEFORE physorg, sciencedaily and other science related sites. I also use the same sources as they do: press releases from the research facilities and other sources.

All news sites use the same sources...they are all middle-men. This also includes your local paper, and your local tv news station.

But now Digg has decided that only the large, established sites should be available for their readers, not necessarily the ones who get the news first.

So much for the "free" internet.

I can't wait 'til I have to order from Pizza Hut because my phone company won't let me call anyone else...

Posted by Nextblogger at August 18, 2006 6:59 PM
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