Even the biggest are tainted
I raised a very wry smile when I first heard about the current Barcelona social media scandal. For those not in the loop the club president has been accused of using the club’s own funds to pay a tech company which went on to create accounts that supported him on social media yet attacked many others, most notable his teams biggest stars Messi and Pique. The president has claimed the company was paid to monitor social media activity but his senior advisor, who was dealing with the company, has been suspended.
It will probably cost the head honcho his job and he is lucky not to be losing his star players plus getting sued for constructive dismissal.
“I am bothered” was Messi’s response.
The directors of the club did the proper thing and immediately called for an external based inquiry into all the allegations, although most that called for the inquiry probably have eyes on the big seat, but still they have acted swiftly and correctly.
This kind of skullduggery happening at probably the world’s biggest club makes for great newspaper filler but the implications are very disturbing.
Are there other organizations actively involved in social media influencing plying the same trade for other clubs in other leagues?
How long were these plants active for and on how many forums?
Would a club paying for such a service be in breach of the articles instructing clubs to act always in good faith?
Is it legal in the eyes of the governing bodies or is it beyond football’s reach?
It does make sense to cultivate a relationship with the some of the bigger fan channels and many clubs have taken this step. At our club of choice though its clearly chosen outlets only, which is perfectly normal for many football clubs.
Using those outlets to gauge supporter feelings is one thing, to help you brush up your image with the aim of retaining your position is another thing altogether.
In Barca’s instance they were actually paying for this which will probably be the act that brings down the current incumbent, and not before time as the game could do with its true giants acting honorably and setting a great example not only to their millions of fans but all other clubs aspiring to be them one day.
If the Barca blogs and forums are anything like our own there will be many a character, many an expat who can’t escape his team, and everything in between.
I will assume they would be popular given their global appeal and stature.
They now know for a cast iron fact that some of those comments were not opinion to be debated but spin and innuendo, plain and simple.
Thus every single interaction with the poster was a waste of time.
When clubs are actually finding ways to try and silence online criticism, going out of their way to sway the fan base through manipulation, trying to shut out debate on forums, then you’re either at the wrong club, or the sport is that bad it needs ripped up and started again.
When the biggest there are start going astray, it really is broken.
The above is by Mahe and should you feel like sending in a guest article the email is firstname.lastname@example.org.