Concerned Citizens for Astroturfing Education?
September 22, 2017 12:57 PM   Subscribe

On certain medical student forums, I'm seeing vague-looking ads saying things like "the medical education system is corrupt", and link to this mysterious site, sponsored by an "advocacy group" called "Concerned Citizens for Medical Education". However, I cannot find any references to "CCME" other than their website and Twitter (which hasn't been updated). No contact information is on their website other than a generic form. A Whois search seems to link to...some kind of proxy service in Panama? Sure smells like astroturfing to me - but who exactly is behind it?

Also, the main page ends in, and I quote, "It’s time for us to ask the men and women who are preventing the underprivileged from becoming physicians, “wtf are you doing?”". Not very official-looking, that's for sure.
posted by Seeking Direction to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Probably a trade association of sleazy overseas medical schools. Claiming that having any standards at all keeps out what they here call "the underprivileged" has become a standard rhetorical practice of for-profit schools generally. The focus on buying rotation slots also points to such schools.

Not as satisfying as a technological answer (they're using a "domain by proxy"-type service in Panama and you won't get past that without a subpoena), but content analysis has its uses, too.
posted by praemunire at 1:14 PM on September 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Half the site doesn't even work, for me. Whoisguard is the standard domain privacy service for Namecheap, a common registrar in the US. The IP address is on Google's cloud, which probably means some low-budget web hosting service that's using them for a back-end. The platform is Wordpress, which is incredibly easy to set up. It's possible it's some kind of sleazy thing, but I feel like if they were trying to really make something happen, a) they'd actually be proposing you tell your elected representatives to support some kind of particular legislation, and b) the button to email people would, you know, work. Especially the fact that it's showing up on medical student forums makes me think that it originates with some extremely disgruntled student or person who wanted to be a student but couldn't get in, who has gotten as far as the idea of some kind of lobbying to Fix Things as their alternative career track, but hasn't exactly planned it out very well.
posted by Sequence at 1:39 PM on September 22, 2017

FWIW, there are people who belive the AMA purposely limits the number doctors. I suppose this is the website of one such group.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:02 PM on September 22, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far - I guess it's either a for-profit school trade group or a disgruntled student from what we can tell. Here's a screenshot of the ad itself.
posted by Seeking Direction at 1:04 PM on September 26, 2017

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