O que é necessário para que um restaurante faça sucesso? Se você pensou em bom atendimento, comida de qualidade e gestão eficiente, lamentamos informar que nenhum destes ingredientes é requisito no mundo informático e performático da web.

É o que mostra a história do The Shed at Dulwich, retumbante embuste gastronômico que ocupou o topo das avaliações do TripAdvisor sem jamais ter existido. No caso dele, bastou um celular, um site, algumas fotos criativas e muito talento para manipular opiniões.

Oobah Butler, jornalista freelancer de diversos veículos de informação, forjava avaliações no TripAdvisor, recebendo remuneração para postar resenhas positivas sobre restaurantes nos quais jamais havia colocado os pés.  A experiência na arte da trapaçaria digital lhe proporcionou know-how para dar um passo adiante na trajetória fraudulenta.

A ousada proposta foi simular a existência de um restaurante e testar quão longe ele conseguiria chegar no ranking de popularidade do site. Não deu outra. Sete meses depois de solicitar cadastramento na plataforma, o The Shed já era o mais recomendado de Londres, chegando a receber mais de 89 mil visitas em sua página num único dia.

O jornalista improvisou uma festa no seu jardim e convidou pessoas que, acreditando nas recomendações do site, imaginaram estar no melhor restaurante londrino. Ele serviu pratos congelados comprados no supermercado e conta que isto irritou alguns clientes. Entretanto, outros ficaram entusiasmados e pediram, inclusive, uma segunda edição.

Depois de tornar a história pública através de um artigo na revista VICE, o assunto viralizou e expôs a fragilidade dos sistemas que operam por algoritmos e fiscalização automatizada.

A fama do The Shed não passou de trolagem.

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