Author Topic: WebRep used as political tool  (Read 3868 times)

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Claymore1320

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WebRep used as political tool
« on: June 23, 2012, 03:34:12 PM »
I've been an Avast user for the best part of a decade; no complaints, I love it.

Until recently, I found the WebRep tool to be a nice addition and a fairly accurate indicator of website safety. However, I now find that this tool is being used to pervert and gerrymander political opinion.

I live in Scotland, and currently we're trying to get our independence back after 300 years. We have a referendum coming up in 2014, but the state run media and other non-Scottish based political institutions are doing their damnedest to afflict the independence struggle by all means possible.

There are two main organisations leading the independence fight. One is the SNP, who are also the party in control of the Scottish Government. The other organisation is called YesScotland; a non-partisan group representing civic Scotland i.e. Trade Unions, Business groups, Church groups etc. 

I invite you to visit both their websites and view the completely inaccurate and false WebRep report.


I think you'll agree that this was not the intended use of the Avast WebRep tool and I look forward to what Avast have to say on the matter.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2012, 03:44:59 PM by Claymore1320 »

Offline DavidR

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Re: WebRep used as political tool
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2012, 04:08:03 PM »
First I'm an avast user not an avast employee - The WebRep rating comes from avast users views of the site, they (the voters) might well be politically motivated but that is their view. These rankings in the webrep are no more accurate than any other user based reputation rating system like WOT (web of trust).

Since the first url is based on a limited number of votes, the second based on many votes (no idea what constitutes that number), but there is nothing stopping you or other avast users voting otherwise for the site.

I don't know how any group supporting either site could be considered non-partisan as that is their view, just the same as any opposing website.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2012, 04:09:40 PM by DavidR »
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AdrianH

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Re: WebRep used as political tool
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2012, 04:24:01 PM »
Claymore, this is exactly why I never bog down my machines with a webrep system from any source, they are totally useless. All too often you will see the subject of a site being targetted rather than the site itself being rated for its value or otherwise.

I know of one person that gives bad rep to any site that is about or mentions Volvo cars .............. nuff said.

The sites you list look fine, I would ignore the webrep altogether and make the most of your campaign.

Claymore1320

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Re: WebRep used as political tool
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2012, 04:37:14 PM »
My point is that the Webrep addon, as I saw it, was intended to be a community metered tool to promote safe Web browsing; not a tool to manipulate political opinions. Am I wrong?

I work in IT and have a bit of savvy with regards these type of web apps - those who're not so savvy may well rely on this tool as an indicator as to whether or not to continue browsing the said site.

AdrianH

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Re: WebRep used as political tool
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2012, 04:50:10 PM »
I think you are correct with regards to the "intention" behind webrep, the problems stem from the fact that anyone can use it. Like some of the product/service rating sites people that have never had the goods or service seem to be entertained writing  reviews based upon their imaginations.

Look at the FBI website, another was Interpol and the CEOPs pages which are obviously given bad rep by the underworld scum that make those sites necessary in the first place.

Offline Lisandro

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Re: WebRep used as political tool
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2012, 05:24:38 PM »
My point is that the Webrep addon, as I saw it, was intended to be a community metered tool to promote safe Web browsing; not a tool to manipulate political opinions. Am I wrong?
WebRep votes come from the community and are related to the contents of the page. It's not a security tool neither it intend any political goal.
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Offline jacal

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Re: WebRep used as political tool
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2012, 05:41:09 PM »
Tools like webrep and wot can be 'misused', so they are and will be 'misused'. The temptation to anonymously defame and make troubles to views, organisations and people, you hate, is too big, so such tools, I'm afraid, will never be of any (decent) use.

avastuser0

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Re: WebRep used as political tool
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2012, 05:48:23 PM »
The question is "Do you like this website?", not "Do you think that this site is safe?". So, users vote mainly according to the content and not the safety.

Offline MikeBCda

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Re: WebRep used as political tool
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2012, 01:02:35 AM »
Way back when WebRep was first introduced and went through its birth pangs, I was under the impression that Avast intended to eventually tie it in to defs or some equivalent database, so that it would become a proper security tool rather than a popularity poll.  Is that still an active goal, or has it fallen by the wayside?
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Gargamel360

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Re: WebRep used as political tool
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2012, 01:12:08 AM »
Way back when WebRep was first introduced and went through its birth pangs, I was under the impression that Avast intended to eventually tie it in to defs or some equivalent database, so that it would become a proper security tool rather than a popularity poll.  Is that still an active goal, or has it fallen by the wayside?
They have added phishing protection to it, and I not sure but perhaps the new thing that protects against url typos might be tied to it as well. 

So they are adding security features to it.   

The problem lies in the idea that a company of Avast!'s size can maintain/police the ratings of such a huge user base....if they even want to.  Sometimes I get the impression they want it to just run wild.