Most terrifying application of crowdsourcing ever
Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 11:23PM
Melody in Online Community, crowdsourcing, human flesh search

The term alone is mildly disturbing - "human flesh search" - and its application - vigilatism translated from the online to real-life worlds is terrifying. Simulatenously, it may be one of the more impressive examples of crowdsourcing around. Human flesh searches in China have tracked down individuals accused of wrongs ranging from stomping a kitty to death to instigating the suicide of a young woman based solely on images and videos uploaded to the internet. Intensively active chat room users put together the pieces to identify the wanted individuals' identities and place their personal details online for the community to enact its retribution.

The terror arises from nearly exclusively anonymous chat room participants who spend vast time (60% of users spend over 3 hours/day) investigating supposed crimes committed by people they don't know based upon accusations made by fellow community members who, thanks to psyeudonimity, they also don't know. I have expressed my optimism that the American way of using the internet increasingly based on building a verifiable online identify will encourage more creative expression. Now I'm also relieved that it is unconducive to vigilante mob behavior.

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