An interesting snippet in Infoglut, by Mark Andrejevic, Loc 1404 describes how sentiment analysis is being deployed to deal with ‘detractors’:
The goal is not to describe but to affect and effect – to stimulate word of mouth, to promote engagement and, in some cases, to thwart it. One sentiment analysis company, for example, promises, “Real- time tracking of ‘Detractors’ to minimize the impact and velocity of negative word- of- mouth.” The press release does not indicate how such detractors are dealt with. Presumably the company has ways of drowning them out or pre- empting critique.
This is potent stuff for my semi-serious design fiction (ish) project on techno-fascism. Detractors of a powerful brand might merely be ‘drowned out’ at present. But can we imagine other fates that might one day befall them?