There's Still No Greater Searcher Than An Angry Human

Hannah Fletcher details a new trend that has emerged in the wake of the massive Chinese earthquake--search vigilantes using the power of the Web to dig up info on other people and get them punished.

Gao Qianhui, a young Chinese woman, was irritated by the 'round the clock post-earthquake news coverage, and uploaded a video voicing her discontent. Within hours, search vigilantes, or what Fletcher dubs, the "human flesh search engine" found and posted info about her to various forums and message boards, including details about her parents' divorce, and her home and work addresses. The ensuing fracas led to police detaining Gao the next day, though they did not make clear what law she'd actually broken.

"Within hours, Ms Gao had become the latest victim of a human flesh search engine, where Chinese netizens become cyber-vigilantes and online communities turn into the world's largest lynch mobs," Fletcher says.

Read the whole story at Times Online »
Tags: search
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