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Fri Apr 12, 2019, 09:53 AM

New plugin allows the far-right to 'graffiti' any website

Columbia Journalism Review

IN LATE FEBRUARY, Captain Marvel was inundated with low ratings on the review-aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. The movie, which had not yet been released, saw its “want to see score” fall to 28 percent. The reviews were mostly by people criticizing the fact that Marvel’s new superhero is a woman—a “review bomb” that started when the trailer was released in September. As a result, Rotten Tomatoes banned preemptive scoring.

The reviewers soon migrated to another platform. Hundreds of sexist comments about Captain Marvel started to reappear, this time on a browser extension called Dissenter. The plugin, available on most web browsers, allows anyone to comment on any webpage on the internet—and to see the comments left by other Dissenter users. Without having the plugin installed, the comments are invisible.

Dissenter acts as a workaround for people wishing to comment on websites, even those without a comment section. One user, Cody Jassman, describe the plugin as “like the graffiti painted in the alley on every web page. You can take a look around and see what passersby are saying.”

The plugin was launched in beta at the end of February by Andrew Torba, who co-founded Gab, a far-right social network. Gab is well known for being the platform where Robert Bowers, the suspected Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, published anti-Semitic comments before he allegedly killed 11 people and wounded many others at the Tree of Life synagogue.

Anti-Semitism, racism, and calls for violence lurk in the Dissenter comment feeds. To give a single example, on The Washington Post’s homepage, a user commented on Dissenter, “hang every employee at wapo for sedition, treason and crimes against humanity resulting in the mass murder of citizens around the world.” This comment was liked 27 times.

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply New plugin allows the far-right to 'graffiti' any website (Original post)
brooklynite Apr 12 OP
superpatriotman Apr 12 #1
brooklynite Apr 12 #3
LanternWaste Apr 12 #13
brooklynite Apr 12 #14
Generic Other Apr 12 #16
Codeine Apr 12 #10
C_U_L8R Apr 12 #2
MineralMan Apr 12 #4
FakeNoose Apr 12 #5
brooklynite Apr 12 #7
Merlot Apr 12 #9
Hugin Apr 12 #8
Codeine Apr 12 #11
Hugin Apr 12 #6
eShirl Apr 12 #12
58Sunliner Apr 12 #15

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 09:57 AM

1. Let's end web anonymity

Then folks who choose to can run their mouth all they want.

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Response to superpatriotman (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:02 AM

3. I don't hide my identity on social media...

...but most people here do.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:49 AM

13. I don't consider the maintenance of one's privacy as 'hiding.'

But I can certainly see how perceiving it as such would allow one a wonderful opportunity to pat themselves on the back.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:57 AM

14. There's a very easy way to maintain one's privacy...stay private

When you step out into the public sphere and offer your opinion to the community, it's not unreasonable to also tell people who you are and (as appropriate) who you represent.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 11:21 AM

16. How to stay private? Wear a burkha? Stay in the women's harem?

This sounds like the advice women have been getting for centuries.

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Response to superpatriotman (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:30 AM

10. That's fine for folks in a safe democracy.

Web anonymity is a valuable thing to people who live in less ideal surroundings.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:01 AM

2. Sounds like a copyright mess

As well as a cesspool of hate.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:06 AM

4. I think I'll opt out of this "Dissenter" thing.

Yup.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:12 AM

5. How do we know this Dissenter ap isn't doing the same thing to DU?

If we don't have the ap, we can't see any of their comments. So they could be on here right now.

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Response to FakeNoose (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:16 AM

7. If you can't see their comments, why do you care?

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:28 AM

9. "What you think of me is none of my business."


The commenters are in their own echo chamber, I have zero interest in what they have to say.

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Response to FakeNoose (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:24 AM

8. I'm confident they're already here.

The users of the app think they're anonymous, but, the second something terrible happens and an investigation links a comment to the perp. They'll find out... They're not.

As a added bonus, the victims and the operators of the "graffiti-ed" website can sue the shit out of the Dissenter's creators in civil court in addition to some possible criminal charges.

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Response to FakeNoose (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:33 AM

11. Zero fucks given.

That app is really just a software echo chamber; let them blither to each other over the childrens’ table in their walled garden while the rest of us enjoy our conversation in peace.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:16 AM

6. Cockroaches.

Another thing for LEO to scour after a tragedy.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:39 AM

12. those have been around for ages

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 11:19 AM

15. I see they are heavy on misogyny.

The comments are just full of hate and crying victim because hate speech isn't free speech.

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