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Social engineering for fun and profit. And other things



  Google Adwords

Photo by Launchpresso Digital Marketing

We people are easily manipulated. Maybe not you or me specifically – some of us are suspicious of such attempts ̵

1; but the population by the way. Thanks to Google's AdWords and YouTube videos, it's easier than ever to influence people's opinions with social engineering. It may be a bad thing, but it's definitely worth thinking about.

In 2016, Google-incubated redirection methods used ads to extradite extremists who want to be Islamic State, and redirected 320,000 people to videos compiling ISIS & # 39; recruiting narratives. But the redirect method wasn't even one since the groups behind it distilled it into a 44-step blueprint.

In a New York Times opinion piece, Patrick Berlinquette, the founder of the search engine marketing consulting firm. Berlin SEM, explains how he used the redirect method's blueprint to change his mind about suicide. His ads for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline generated a conversion rate of 28%, seven times the average rate of 4%, in just one week. Another experiment to redirect potential shooters to a crisis hotel failed, but the point remains – it's easy for anyone to use Google's precise targeting tools and redirect ads to promote their own agenda. In some respects, this conclusion is obvious – that's what marketers do every day. But it raises questions about the ethics involved, how to protect yourself and others from such manipulation, and what Google's role in all this should be. What do you think?

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