BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 24 May, 2002, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
WTO falls victim to spoof website
Anti-WTO protests in Seattle
The WTO has found itself the target of protesters in the past

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has found itself on the receiving end of an elaborate internet hoax.

A group of anti-WTO campaigners, with a history of lampooning free trade, have used an internet site purporting to be the WTO's own to issue a statement that the organisation is being disbanded.


Despite the name [the Yes Men] they are men and women, who describe themselves as a network of impostors

The internet site concerned is very cleverly designed to look like the WTO's one. It even uses as its address the name of the WTO's predecessor organisation, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt).

A statement on the site says that current trade liberalisation rules have led to increased poverty and inequality and have eroded democratic principles - so the WTO is being disbanded and replaced by a new organisation called the Trade Regulatory Organisation.

Fake conference delegates

It is of course not true, but it has prompted the WTO to issue a statement warning journalists not to be taken in.

The group behind the hoax are called the Yes Men - despite the name they are men and women, who describe themselves as a network of impostors.

Spoof page
The page mimics the WTO homepage

They have impersonated WTO officials on a number of occasions, using satire to make their criticisms. As a result of the bogus website they have received invitations to speak at conferences intended for the WTO's Director General Mike Moore.

They have replied to some by saying Mr Moore himself was unavailable but could send a substitute.

On one occasion, at a textile conference in Finland last year, the bogus WTO official making a presentation removed his clothes to reveal a golden leotard with a metre long golden phallus containing what he called video interface which could be used to deliver electric shocks to employees in the developing world not working hard enough.

A spokesman for the Yes Men said that nobody at the conference seemed to spot the hoax.

The main complaint made at the time, he said, was from a woman who said the phallus metaphor was inappropriate because women too can exploit workers.

See also:

01 Feb 02 | Business
01 Mar 01 | Business
05 Feb 99 | Science/Nature
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes