Sunday, April 22, 2012

Social media and corruption

Last Saturday, the Times published a story on corruption in Walmart Mexico. The impressive growth of Walmart in Mexico is, as the report shows, a direct result of bribery paid to Mexican officials (over $24 million dollarS). 

How does social media fit here? People yesterday were trying to figure out who were the Mexican officials that benefited from the bribes. And LinkedIn came in handy. Somebody found the LinkedIn profile of one of Walmart's top excecutives in Mexico who happens to be the brother of Mexico City's mayor, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon.

We know he works for Walmart and he is the brother of the mayor because that is the only information on his LinkedIn profile. However, the account has only one contact and no past jobs or any additional information. Does he really work for Walmart (implying that he is involved in the corruption scandal)? Or is it a fake account (on July, the presidential election is going to be held and if Mexico City mayor's party wins, he will be appointed Secretary of State, so someone may very well be trying to involve him in this to make his party lose votes)?

These are the two sides of the same coin: using social media to expose corruption or using social media to create fake links between people and damage their reputation. It is going to be interesting to see how this story unfolds. As for now, Walmart issued a lukewarm press release but the government has yet to say something.

No comments:

Post a Comment