Digg Argues It Has Ways to Prevent Manipulation

Questions were flying about whether Digg is being used for stock manipulation. BW reporter Elizabeth Woyke called Jay Adelson, the company's CEO about measures designed to thrawt that.
Heather Green

Questions were flying today about whether Digg, the popular tech news site, is being used for stock manipulation. (Through rumors of a Google takeover of Sun). BW reporter Elizabeth Woyke, who did a story on Digg last year, called Jay Adelson, the company's CEO. He described the features Digg has in place to thwart people from trying to game the system. Still, as for whether Web 2.0 tools like Digg are easier to manipulate than others, Adelson says, it’s a fair debate.

The background is an eye-catching item on Silicon Valley Sleuth about the repeated listing on Digg of posts written by another blogger about a Sun takeover. Silicon Valley Sleuth wrote that it appeared that this was the "result of a coordinated effort to fool Digg into promoting the story." Later, Silicon Valley Sleuth updated the post to say that it seems unlikely that there was manipulation in this instance.

Adelson told Woyke that Digg has a number of protective measures that thwart people trying to game the system. And he says that neither Sun, Google or the SEC has contacted the site to investigate.

Digg began putting protective measures in place last fall, when posts about blogger Thomas Hawk’s run in with a Brooklyn photo shop Price Rite Photo attracted thousands of comments and incited debates about whether related posts were being unfairly deleted.

Now users can bury a story as well as promote it. They can report a story as being ‘lame’, spam, a duplicate story, a bad link, old news or inaccurate. If the system receives enough reports, the story disappears from the home page. If it’s flagged as inaccurate, a warning banner appears at the top of the post. The story still lives on Digg, allowing users to keep reading, commenting and even digging it. Users can also report individuals and particular comments to the site.

Adelson says Digg doesn’t plan to add more protective measures in response to the Sun/Google story. “There hasn’t been an incident since the fall where we didn’t think our systems could handle it.”
Still, he does say “When you’re empowering the mass, you have to be careful about quality control. It would be unfair to label all of Web 2.0 and Ajax and all those technologies as necessarily making gaming easier. However like with any powerful technology, it’s incumbent upon the developers to do a good job of preventing that.”

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