Famous Personality Trolling and Tortious Interference by Competitors.
An American celebrity, sports personality was targeted with an organized Internet defamation and smear campaign by anonymous and pseudonymous individuals. The smear campaign was framed as a grassroots public outcry against the individual with factual allegations supported, for the most part, only by plausible and yet fallacious arguments.
Whereas, what appeared to be public outrage was in fact a carefully crafted conspiracy consisting of one protagonist in association with ten or fewer lesser antagonists, each suspected of using multiple alter egos in what is called “astroturfing”. This handful of conspirators was then able to mobilize scores if not hundreds of individuals involved in the specialty sport, into adopting the false allegations as their own opinions, and causing a wildfire of uncontrollable negative sentiment by the viral crowd.
The personal cost of this concerted effort against the client was estimated to be in the millions of dollars.
Using the NexusMyst application, our team was able to:
1. Positively identify the key individuals responsible for publishing and administering cornerstone websites despite:
- the use of proxy services and IP addresses.
- anonymous domain registrations through a Panamanian company using cash/money order transactions.
2. Investigate, identify and monitor the plethora of usernames over multiple websites, forums and social networking pages and:
- isolate smaller groups/cells of organized conspirators.
- positively identify the individuals and addresses behind some of these usernames.
3. advise the client on the best strategic and tactical go forward actions to mitigate further damage and remedy, inasmuch as it was possible, the damage already inflicted.
As a result of our team’s engagement in this case, the client was able to leverage the evidence gathered to bring about the immediate suspension of the primary website(s) used in the attack and in doing so disrupting many weeks of the conspirators’ search engine optimization, back linking, and information sharing through social media.
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