In case we don’t have enough to worry about as bloggers, it appears that the European Union is passing a new directive that makes it illegal for businesses to falsely masquerade as a consumer. Not just with fake blogs (also known as “sock puppet blogs”) but with comments on blogs too, reviews on Amazon.com and other review sites, and more.
It all sounds good in theory, but in reality I fear that this will prove to be a nightmare for bloggers if we are going to be held liable for verifying the identity of everyone who adds comments to our weblogs. I mean, let’s be straight here: identity is impossible to verify anyway, and even if you could, the nuances of identity are such that the system is trivially defeated anyway. For example, if my sister works at a company and I write a blog comment on someone else’s weblog that defends her firm, do I need to disclose that relationship?
It’s a curious law and I surmise that the EU won’t be able to enforce this new directive. But that’s just me. What’s your opinion of the new law that’s just starting to surface in the online world?
Tip: More details on this article can be found on my own blog, in a considerably longer article entitled: EU makes fake blogs and comments illegal: are all bloggers liable?