Online Gambling and Spam

Š       Virtual gambling – does it come within the reach of gambling laws?

Christina FränngĆrd, ‘Issues of Jurisdiction and Enforcement in Internet Gambling’ (October 2007) 10(7) Internet Law Bulletin <>

o   With particular relevance to Web 2.0 interactivity, this article mentions an FBI investigation into virtual online gambling that spurred the makers of Second Life to ban all gambling activity within the game.

o   Second Life gambling was taking place with a virtual currency (‘Linden Dollars’), but because Second Life members can buy Linden Dollars with real currency, there is a ‘stored value’ system in place. This brings Second Life’s casinos within the reach of gambling laws, according to the United States’ Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

o   See Anita Ramasastry, ‘Could Second Life Be In Serious Trouble? The Risk of Real-Life Legal Consequences for Hosting Virtual Gambling’, FindLaw (Minnesota), 11 April 2007 <> at 9 November 2010.

Š       Can social networking rumours manipulate share values?
If so, does this introduce a level of unreliability that makes share trading more of a gamble, than reasoned estimation of a company’s value? Does it matter, if it creates its own reality/self-fulfilling prophecy?

o   Twitter rumours (i.e. user-generated news) of Qantas plane crash sparked drop in value of Qantas shares, before the real story even came out in the mainstream news sites/channels

1.     Reuters, ‘Shares Buoyed by BHP Rally’ (4 November 2010) Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney) <> at 5 November 2010.

2.     Tom Allard and Matt O’Sullivan, SMH with Reuters and AAP, ‘Qantas engine drama: reports of debris, explosion’ (5 November 2010) <> at 5 November 2010.

3.     See screenshots of Twitter feeds:

Š       Twitter screengrab 1:

Š       Twitter screengrab 2:

Š       Twitter screengrab 3:

Š       Twitter screengrab 4 (Reuters <> at 5 November 2010):

Š       Twitter screengrab 5 (Yahoo! 7 News <> at 5 November 2010):


o   EXERCISE: Find other evidence of values of shares or commodities (e.g land, gold, oil) being significantly manipulated by viral rumours spread via social networking sites.

o   DISCUSSION: News sites’ Twitter accounts, such as that of Yahoo! 7 News, are clearly re-tweeting reports not from official bodies but from individuals (who may or may not be journalists). What does this say about the reliability of news websites?

The unreliability of user-generated news

Journalism student’s Wikipedia experiment. He inserted a fake quote into the Wikipedia page of a recently-deceased composer to see how it would be received. Newspapers around the world (not just blogs) quickly attributed the quote to the composer, before the student removed the quote and notified the newspapers of the hoax.

§  John Timmer, ‘Wikipedia hoax points to limits of journalists’ research (7 May 2009) ars technica <> at 5 November 2010.

§  Chris Matyszczyk, ‘Media outlets (and Wikipedia) fooled by Irishman’ (7 May 2009) cnet News <> at 5 November 2010.

§  Shawn Pogatchnik, ‘Student hoaxes world’s media on Wikipedia’ (5 December 2009) <> at 5 November 2010.

§  Corrections Editor, ‘Corrections and clarifications’ (29 April 2009) The Guardian (United Kingdom) <> at 5 November 2010.