Health Insurers Bribe Facebook Users

Ken AshfordHealth CareLeave a Comment

This is a little complicated to explain, but bear with me.

On Facebook, there are games you can play that require money to advance. They are simulation games — like running your own farm, or rollercoaster theme park, or mafia crime family, or something like that.  Of course, these games doesn't involve real money, but fake money — usually given names like "FarmBucks" or something (I don't know for sure — I don't play games on Facebook).  You get this "virtual currency" by winning it through the games, or by paying real money for it.

Anyway, the health insurance lobby has found a way to gin up support for their cause — or worse, to make it appear that there is support for their cause.  An industry group called Health Reform Right is now providing this "virtual currency" to Facebook players who take a survey.  That survey is then forwarded to the Facebook player's congressional representative with the words:

"I am concerned a new government plan could cause me to lose the employer coverage I have today. More government bureaucracy will only create more problems, not solve the ones we have."

It's basically "astroturfing" (a term used to describe creating a false grassroots movement).

It's not illegal to pay somebody to pretend to be a supporter of a cause.

But it's clearly not above-board.

So naturally, the health insurance lobby is doing it.