Has anybody else heard about this phenomenon whereby corporations & government bodies pay people to essentially, troll online forums posting right-wing bollox? How is it not totally illegal?? Call me naive but I've just found out about this and I'm kind of shocked that I haven't heard anything about it, before. Either I'm really behind the times, or there's a bit of a coverup in progress? I'm especially curious if there are any mods about who have anything to say about it, because I seem to recall that U75 had a trolling problem itself quite a few years ago, which seems to have died down (I actually stopped reading this forum for a while because of it). So I reckon most forum mods must be aware this is going on but I'm just curious, has there been any sort of outcry against these 'Troll Inc.' companies? Surely, if the government is paying people to surreptitiously spread right wing propaganda, then that constitutes some sort of conspiracy. Or am I just really out of touch? Lol. Excerpt from a blog post on this subject: In 2011, the Guardian's George Monbiot wrote that he'd been contacted by a whistleblower who said he was, "part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them." Sound familiar? It will do, if you've ever participated in an internet forum. This particular whistleblower told Monbiot that he posed as up to 70 different individuals at a time... which probably helps to explain why different trolls' posts are often nearly identical in tone and content. Bear in mind that this whistleblower was just one employee, from one company providing 'social media management' services to corporate clients. Doubtless there are many, many more out there. The practice of paying people to post supportive comments for a specific interest group online is said to have originated in China in 2004, where such posters are known as the '50 cent party'. As the name suggests, these posters are paid 50 Chinese cents for every pro-government or counter-dissident post that they write. In 2009, Datamation.com wrote that: "China’s 50 Cent Army is everybody's business. With 300,000 people, you can see how the CCP could easily determine what makes it onto the front page of Digg, and what gets shouted down. They could use Wikipedia, YouTube and Slashdot as their most powerful tools of global propaganda." That's true if China is the only country that hires right-wing commentators, but it isn't. Throw in the U.S.A., Russia, Canada and Israel - to name but a few of the countries whose governments have hired 'online supporters' in recent times - and the potential to skew public perceptions becomes overwhelming. In 2011 it was revealed that the U.S. military's Central Command, or Centcom, had signed a contract with a company known as NTrepid to 'manage online personas' for its staff. NTrepid's software would enable every serviceman and woman to create and use up to 10 fake online aliases worldwide. The Guardian reported that: 'The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".'