It’s been revealed that in late July this year, coal-seam gas shareholders successfully skewed a Northern Star online poll and personally targeted its online producer’s Facebook account.
Journalist Dominic Feain told Echonetdaily that the poll asked who was in favour of CSG. ‘By deleting cookies and re-voting they managed to flood the poll with pro-CSG votes,’ Mr Feain said.
‘The anti-CSG lobby counter-spammed before we pulled it at about 12,000 votes – usually we’ll get a couple of hundred.’
Mr Feain added, ‘It appeared to me to be attempted share-ramping. We tracked their IP addresses and accounts and reported them to police and the ASX but nothing eventuated.’
Remarkably, the entire action transpired publicly on online stock market forum www.hotcopper.com.au, where members both conspired to spam the online poll and posted instructions on how to skew the results.
The members, who are Metgasco investors, also investigated Mr Feain’s background while other comments made reference to CSG-Free activists as ‘full-time bludgers… while the rest of us actually spend our time earning a real living.’
Known as ‘trolls’ in internet parlance, members were also scathing of residents’ behaviour at the recent public meeting in Lismore and local media reports on the issue.
The full exchange is published – as of going to press – at http://bit.ly/UOVOkM.
Metgasco shares have been on a downward slide since mid October and recorded its lowest price ever for the year at 15.5 cents a share last Thursday, according to www.asx.com.au.
Pity the shareholders don’t have enough moral fibre to divest their CSG shares and invest in ethical companies. It is not necessary to destroy the environment, arable land and aquifers to earn an income.
Ken it would be better if shareholders with a social conscience still kept a minimal CSG share to enable them ( or perhaps a proxy who has good voice projection skills such as an actor) to stand up at the AGMs and publicly denounce the harm being caused by CSG mining in order to educate and shame other investors into demanding safer practices and funding proper studies. That way there can be protests inside as well as outside the annual general meetings.