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Using a false identity online

posted Sep 22, 2010, 7:24 AM by Kate Kelly

We all probably remember this ethical dilemma from David Payne’s class discussion in the spring.  It is a perfect example of how easy it is to use the internet for spreading incorrect information.  In this example, in 2005, Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, used a fake identity (made up user name) to post on Yahoo discussion boards about the competitor, Wild Oats.  In his posting, Mackey “cheered Whole Foods’ financial results, trumpeted his gain on the stock and bashed Wild Oats.”  He basically praised Whole Foods and undermined Wild Oats, the company that Whole Foods later bought.  Here are links to a couple of articles discussing the situation:

http://www.smartmoney.com/breaking-news/smw/?story=20070712105705&hpadref=1

http://blogs.mercurynews.com/vindu/2007/07/18/whole-apology-whole-foods-ceo-john-mackey-apologizes-for-messages-posted-on-fake-name/

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