I believe in future many a Marketing textbook will use ‘The WikiLeaks brand’ as a case study. Of course you don’t have to be an academic in the field to appreciate that Google/Twitter/Facebook are flooded with the word, images and links all creating a carpet of opportunity to make money through advertising or linking one’s commercial wagon to the wikiLeaks star to improve Google Ranking and yield a higher rate from advertising revenues.
I am hardly an expert on the matter but let’s see what an expert does say on the matter:
2nd of January 2012 from my FB Chat Records:
5:19pm Greek Emmy I am sure it won’t last, but I am making the most of it… what did you think about this wikileak-stories website?
5:22pm Ma Rk I think its a fake site using wikileaks to promote his own webpage
5:24pm Greek Emmy pls give me some clues, it will be good to know what to look out for. I got a strange feeling about it that’s why I put it here in FB page.
5:26pm Ma Rk well the ite has nothing to do with wikileaks he is using this word because it is a commom keyword for google and hope that he will get better rankings lol ”” Making Games For Freedom & Democracy “”
5:28pm Greek Emmy what do you think the goal is then? to get people to visit these other websites?
5:29pm Ma Rk yes….and then capitalize on ads but its sick anyway he doent know what hes doing there are 55 million search result for wikileaks
5:31pm Greek Emmy why don’t they copyright the name? or are we against copyrighting? it is so easy to mislead people on the web.
5:32pm Ma Rk we are against copywriting will cost too much take too much time send wrong signals
5:32pm Greek Emmy in principal I agree. but sometimes it feels like there is a torrent of misinformation… like when I was following the “Julian Assange” twitter account for weeks and weeks before it finally clicked without a shred of a doubt that it was a fake
5:36pm Ma Rk yes…this is a gaming site when when wikileak isnt as popular then expect ” lady gaga stories “
It is amazing how internet traffic flows are manipulated to make money from adverts. For example one can only speculate how much money can eventually be made by ‘milking’ the WikiLeaks popular brand via, let’s say their Facebook Page, which was ‘liked’ at the time of the above conversation by 1.5 million people. It must generate quite a lot of traffic. This page could then point (through it’s own ‘Liked’ List) to other pages or introduce other related WikiLeaks Pages, actively asking people to ‘Like’ them, then these secondary WikiLeaks Pages can link to other websites, generating traffic for them. Some of this traffic eventually leads to income from paid advertising. What a complicated thread of events.
But before I get lost in pure speculation any further, let’s go back to the topic. 🙂
Mark has recently made public that he was managing the WL FB page over a period of a year first jointly with another (Siggi) then alone. We also know that a number of WikiLeaks FB pages appeared in 2010/2011/2012 some of them were linked to the Main WikiLeaks page. Websites wikileaks-forum.com and support-julian-assange.com owned by Mark were linked to these secondary WikiLeaks related pages, that were also managed by forum ‘staff’ who added relevant content and linked to the forum/sja sites. Here is a list of the most known pages:
FB ID 207230605981081
WikiLeaks: The Global Intelligence Files
FB ID 360491143985667
FB ID 363067913731557
Friends Of Wikileaks(FoWL)
FB ID 353258984743187
FB ID 100989556660994
The Wikileaks Supporters Forum Open Community
FB ID 161833024009325
WikiLeaks Deutschland / Germany
FB ID 110338505704527
Wikileaks Plus D – The Kissinger Cables
FB ID 151497241692891
FB ID 109174195782437
Aggregate Likes 182,981
I helped manage three of the above for varied durations. The Global Intelligence Files was my main one and I was assisting Isis with Cablegate and Jerri with one of the FoWL pages. My involvement stopped on the 22/08/2012 when I left the forum in protest for Mark’s 180 degrees turn into an anti-WL/JA ‘supporter’. Not only his assertions that JA was ‘an Agent of the West assisting the Muslim Brotherhood establish M.E. regimes’ were preposterous but the pressure he applied on me to agree with his mad views was intolerable to me and I had to leave. But still, only but a few weeks earlier he was WL’s most ardent supporter and under his forum umbrella and FB pages, I enjoyed seeing the ‘Likes’ grow by hundreds then thousands and this is as far as my understanding went. I never engaged in conversation with people who ‘liked’ or commented and left the spammers well alone. After all, I could have been accused of censorship, discrediting WL!:
From my Facebook Chat Record 27th of February 2012:
2/27, 9:33pm Greek Emmy Thnx for that. Ok I have a spammer his name is Dave Johnson (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001339892711) and puts this photo link : http://www.wellaware1.com/wikileaks/sand1000.jpg with negative message. He has already posted 9 times on different posts always “Julian is fake”, “It is a government operation” and the link is spammy and rude. What do I do with this guy and his spammy posts? David Johnson Married From San Jose, California Male
2/27, 11:17pm Greek Emmy Thank you for sorting it out
2/27, 11:17pm Ma Rk yes….always ask me first some spammer do this in order to get themselves deleted….then tell the world that wikileaks is censoring them so leave these bad guys tzo me I just deleted 73 comments and he is banned from the page now he was also on Wikileaks and Sunshine Press facebopok pages
2/27, 11:20pm Greek Emmy omg, thank you, happy to leave the badies to you he must have an ulterior motive to go to such trouble…
2/27, 11:20pm Ma Rk government paid troll nothing special
2/27, 11:24pm Greek Emmy lol – I can well believe that, and if I imaging it is our taxes that are used… grumph. This is not my idea of the social contract….
A matter of Authenticity
We read here that in the past WikiLeaks related Facebook pages have seen a bit of a bumpy journey, relating to whether they are authentic or not.
The above mentioned pages have all the appearance of authenticity. The amazing logos, relevant content regularly updated, a list of relevant recommended ‘Likes’. In some cases they even state to be an ‘Official Facebook Page’ of the organisation they are dedicated to.
See here for example: http://archive.is/w4Nyk in the ‘About’ page For Sunshine press it says and I quote:
Official Facebook Page– The Sunshine Press (Wikileaks), is an international non-profit organization funded by: Human Rights Campaigners Investigative Journalists Technologists Lawyers The general public http://www.sunshinepress.org
But I know that this is not so, this is certainly not an authentic page in as far as it is not an Official page for Sunshine press. It is controlled by Mark and it has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else. You can see for yourself here: http://archive.is/5j912 that most posts relate to the wikileaks-forum.com
In fact most of the pages above were set up in the same manner till at some point in Spring 2012 the message went round that we should change all of them into ‘Community pages’ which certainly happened.
Still, even as Community pages they are fraudulent as they are not WikiLeaks supportive pages, the only one they support is Mark and his forum. You do not have to go further than the very first page of the links above, the very first posts there, to see clearly of what I am talking about.
Furthermore, recent usage of these pages include disseminating false, smearing information against WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and their supporters. In this manner, the pages have become means of cyber-bullying.
So, I conclude: The Facebook Pages that are controlled by Mark are not authentic, they are not supportive, not authorised and the only reason they exist is to channel Internet Traffic to the websites http://www.wikileaks-forum.com and the http://www.support-julian-assange.com
How do you describe such tactics other than fraudulent? and what is the motivation for running and staffing such Facebook pages?