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Greenpeace moves protests into cyberspace

Greenpeace activists hold a banner on a boat near the French energy giant Total's Elgin rig, 150 miles (240 kms) from Aberdeen in eastern Scotland, in the North Sea.

Jeff Horwich: Today, the environmental group Greenpeace boarded a Russian offshore oil-rig in the Arctic Sea to protest drilling in the region by Gazprom.

Greenpeace has pulled stunts like this for years. But lately, the group has gone from occupying oil-rigs and fishing boats to hijacking companies’ identities online.

Christopher Werth has more.


Christopher Werth: Earlier this year, Greenpeace went after Shell with an online campaign that began with a hoax.

The organization posted an online video of a fake launch party for Shell’s arctic drilling rigs.

In it, a woman goes to fill a glass from a small, model of an oil-rig that pours drinks.

But it breaks and soaks her with black liquid.

Along with the video, Greenpeace launched a fake website for Shell where users could create satirical ads with furry Arctic animals.

Shell’s response?

The company says it supports the right to protest, but it doesn’t want people to be deceived.

Hannah Perry is with the polling firm YouGov. She says online campaigns may have more impact than Greenpeace’s traditional, physical occupations.

Hannah Perry: I think the physical occupation have certain limitations in that they’re very localized and they’re easily forgotten.

Today, Greenpeace also launched a new online campaign against Volkswagen over auto emissions.

I’m Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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