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When consumers become vigilantes

Ralph Nader probably never imagined this kind of consumer activism. According to a New York Times report, a complaint over a Canon EOS camera purchased from a Brooklyn store has led to prank calls, attacks on Web sites, reported death threats, corporate intervention and an official investigation.


Online mob mentality has been discussed for years, usually in such dark circumstances as . But the idea of online vigilantism has become an increasingly popular topic, especially since the proliferation of camera phones, some of which have been used in .

Could this be a defining moment that illustrates the future of citizen justice in the digital realm?

Blog community response:

"The days are over when a business could market a crappy product or treat their customers like marks and assume that the worst that would happen is that they get a few angry letters they could then just dump in the round file. Thanks to blogging, the customers can now hit back--big time!"

"I talked about it with one of my professors. While he was outraged over how a company could utilize these mafia scare tactics and still be in business, he was still wary of the vigilante tactics used. I was so impressed with the idea of vigilante justice on the Web that I didn't really see his point of view at the time. Today, I see his point."
--Jesse Schibilia

"Sometimes the blogosphere has a very negative impact. It is here that one must sit back and think about their impact on others when they have a popular blog. Journalistic skills may fall short when the resources for fact checking do not exist."
--Rythan's Tech Commentaries