Saturday, September 26, 2020

Security Madness at EBay

Totally crazy story about how EBay corporate security, after watching way too many gangster movies, decided to "take down" two small-time bloggers who occasionally complained about how EBay did business:

According to prosecutors, Mr. Baugh and members of the security team devised a convoluted and improbable strategy: to secretly harass the Steiners, and then offer eBay’s assistance in stopping the attacks — winning the Steiners’ confidence and manipulating them into favorable coverage of eBay. They called it “the White Knight strategy.” Inevitably, there was a movie screening: “Body of Lies,” a C.I.A. thriller about a fake plot that draws out a real terrorist.

Prosecutors say that on Aug. 7, Ms. Popp — the “Mom” to Mr. Baugh’s “Dad” — began sending Twitter messages to Ms. Steiner via a fake account, @Tui_Elei. The profile picture was a skull, and he seemed to be an eBay user from Samoa who believed that EcommerceBytes had harmed his sales. Ms. Steiner ignored the messages, even as the tone got angrier and more abusive. @Tui_Elei wrote: “I guess im goin to have to get ur attention another way bitch…”

A parade of disturbing deliveries began at 4 p.m. on Aug. 10, when a package containing a bloody pig mask arrived at the Steiners’ home. Fourteen minutes later, @Tui_Elei wrote: “DO I HAVE UR ATTENTION NOW????”

The Steiners received a book titled “Grief Diaries: Surviving the Loss of a Spouse” and a funeral wreath. They got fly larvae and live spiders and a box of cockroaches. Copies of the September issue of “Hustler: Barely Legal” touting “eye-popping 18-year-olds” arrived at the homes of neighbors with David Steiner’s name on them.

The Twitter bombardment continued, as @Tui_Elei began to hint at violence: “wen u hurt our bizness u hurt our familys… Ppl will do ANYTHING 2 protect family!!!!” 

I am always baffled by the way some people take on their employers as their tribe and go looking for tribal enemies to fight. I don't think this is any kind of corporate norm; as soon as EBay's lawyers found out about this, the security people were all fired. But given a little power and secrecy, some people go crazy.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

"I am always baffled by the way some people take on their employers as their tribe and go looking for tribal enemies to fight."

It's a default ape mentality. Absent other influences strong enough to override our behavior, we revert to instinct, and our instinct is to be selfish, greedy, tribal, manipulative, and foul.

Society seemingly does very little to teach people not to simply act on instinct - I'd argue most such teaching by far is done by parents, and many parents either don't know enough or don't care enough to teach their children to act better than apes. We do almost nothing to promote proper behavior among our citizenry, and then we're shocked when our citizens act in awful ways.

And that's not even factoring in the 1% or so of people who are literally psychopaths, and are fundamentally incapable of acting properly in society.