Google has exercised an increasingly pernicious influence on academic research, paying millions of dollars each year to academics and scholars who produce papers that support its business and policy goals. An in-depth examination by the Google Transparency Project identified 329 research papers published between 2005 and 2017 on public policy matters of interest to Google that were in some way funded by the company–behind the scenes.
If you followed the Copyright Office request for public comments on the DMCA “notice and takedown” safe harbors, you will probably be aware of reports that a group called Fight for the Future generated 86,000 comments to the Copyright Office in approximately 36 hours. I will give even money that it will turn out that investigation will reveal that most of those comments were fake.
One reason I’d make that bet is because they look fake. Many were anonymous or pseudonymous and there’s really no way to know who or what submitted those comments. And that’s why there’s a question about whether this kind of public comments can be used at all for policy making.