Thursday, May 18, 2017

Medium authors: Fred and Sue

I like to browse the TwoXChromosomes subreddit.  It's where I get all my feminism news and commentary.

Yesterday, the #1 link was an opinion piece from Medium, titled "Abortion Rates Drop When Birth Control Usage Goes Up, Yet Republicans Want to Limit Access to Birth Control."  It was posted by a user named gitssa.  It's a breezy, two-minute read, well-written, and with no indication of being plagiarized.  Heck, there's even a line about how a 2016 Gallup poll found 87% of Republican voters approve of birth control, and that statistic is true: http://www.gallup.com/poll/192404/birth-control-divorce-top-list-morally-acceptable-issues.aspx.  

And yet...

At the end of the article is a random hyperlink, embedded in the phrase "women's health services," for KnockYourHealth.com.  It's a website which sells medical machines, and the machines don't have anything to do with contraception.  They're actually lipo laser machines.  So why would the author of an article about birth control link to a site about lipo machines?

The author of the Medium piece is named Fred.  Just "Fred."  The URL of Fred's profile shows the name @lifred.

Fred wrote another Medium post on May 8, titled "Advances in Medical Technology are Giving Obese Women a Better Chance at a Healthy Life."  That article was linked on Reddit, again in the TwoXChromosomes community, by knifeandforrk.  (Knifeandforrk later deleted the link, and I originally tried to save a cache of it.)  That Medium post also contained a hyperlink to KnockYourHealth.com.

Curiously, there was another author on Medium who wrote an article titled "Advances in Medical Technology are Giving Obese Women a Better Chance at a Healthy Life."  That Medium user is @lifeshine, aka "Sue."  Sue later deleted her post, but you can see the removal message here.

Sue wrote one other post back in December titled "Lipo Laser Buyers: 3 Critical Factors You Cannot Afford to Ignore."  That article also contained links to KnockYourHealth.com, and Sue acknowledged working for KnockYourHealth.com.

Sue's second article was submitted to Reddit by HollaDouble2.  HollaDouble2 later deleted his link, but that's what archives are for.

The contact number on KnockYourHealth.com is 1-888-547-5296.  Their about page says:
KnockYourHealth.com is a fully owned website run by CWGLive, under its KnockYourHealth vertical. CWGLive has been successfully reviewing products since 2009, and has been successfully running its product reviews since its inception. 
Founded and led by Sudeshna Dey Nee Choudhury, we have been able to perform, through our trusted business associate network, a number of trials to experience different health products. In this website, we summarize the experience of the distributed team and its business associates. 
WhoIs information for KnockYourHealth shows it was registered by Sudeshna Dey (nee Choudhury), in Rampurhat, West Bengal, India, using the e-mail address brishti1007@rediffmail.com.  I assume it's really based in India and Sudeshna Dey really is the owner.

There's nothing outright insidious about the Medium article.  But it strikes me as weird how so many people can read a piece of commentary and not seem to care who the author was.

Anyway...we've got two Medium authors who linked to the same site:  @lifred and @lifeshine  And we've got three Redditors who linked to the Medium posts:  Gitssa, Knifeandfork, and HollaDouble2.

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