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Right wing trolls get paid by the post

Discussion in 'protest, direct action and demos' started by UnsceneBerlin, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. UnsceneBerlin

    UnsceneBerlin Member

    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".'
  2. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    How much do they pay?
  3. Vintage Paw

    Vintage Paw dead stare and computer glare

    Why don't you tell us :p
  4. goldenecitrone

    goldenecitrone ubi sunt

    It's an absolute disgrace. This kind of thing would never have happened under Hitler.
    eskdave, redcogs, manny-p and 7 others like this.
  5. fogbat

    fogbat The Talibum

    Less than I deserve :mad:
    xslavearcx and Greebo like this.
  6. Metal Malcolm

    Metal Malcolm ODT resident emo

    Why would it be illegal? It's obviously irritating to say the least, but I don't see what laws are being broken. It's not illegal to lie, or to impersonate someone else for non-fraudulent purposes...
  7. Bernie Gunther

    Bernie Gunther Fundamentalist Druid

    Not implausible. There's plenty of evidence of analogous and related stuff going on in areas like reputation management and at the dodgier end of the cyber-security industry.

    Here's a quick taster, more to come when I've got a few things done (just got home from a trip)



    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  8. UnsceneBerlin

    UnsceneBerlin Member

    ...even if it's the government doing it? Ethical questions aside, is that really how taxes should be spent... spreading hatred and nationalism online and not even identifying themselves as the people behind it? :confused: I guess I'm mad but I do see something wrong with that.

    And Hitler would have loved this sort of thing, actually. He was well into astroturfing the propaganda.
    nino_savatte, Greebo and Smyz like this.
  9. UnsceneBerlin

    UnsceneBerlin Member

    Cheers, I look forward to reading the rest
  10. Bernie Gunther

    Bernie Gunther Fundamentalist Druid

  11. pesh

    pesh Well-Known Member

    you could have a lot of fun with that, set up a load of usernames, post a load of rightwing bollocks, have a bit of lunch, maybe a smoke, send in the invoice then spend the afternoon flaming yourself from a load of different usernames with annoying little things like facts.
    Mation, el-ahrairah, tufty79 and 2 others like this.
  12. catinthehat

    catinthehat Failed VK = Replicant

    Not in the least surprising. PR companies often clean up or bump up images via social media. There is a wikipedia entry for a college in Scotland where you can see the history of revision after revision - the Principal was under some suspicion (he eventually left to spend more time with his boat) and he employed a PR company to keep changing the entries being made there and other places about the goings on.
    muscovyduck and Greebo like this.
  13. white rabbit

    white rabbit Less than zero R.I.P.

    How vigilant are they of the content? You could adopt a pro-corporate persona but be so absurdly batshit that it's self-defeating.
    Greebo likes this.
  14. J Ed

    J Ed besieging the vampire castle

    The other day someone told me that someone they know gets paid to post climate denial stuff, though he said that he genuinely believed the stuff he was posting too. I didn't believe it at the time...
  15. goldenecitrone

    goldenecitrone ubi sunt

    I'm sure he would. If he'd somehow survived the fall of Berlin and discovered the secret of eternal life. Wait a minute...nah, surely not...
    eskdave and Greebo like this.
  16. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Somewhere under the raincloud

    Lots of sites present comments in chronological order, this means that if you get in first your comment will be at the top of the pile and will be the one people are most likely to read. These paid trolls will spend all day lurking on a particular site waiting for a story to break so they can get that all-important first comment.

    This is why I don't read comment threads on news articles.
  17. Metal Malcolm

    Metal Malcolm ODT resident emo

    Nah, you miss my point. I completely agree that it's unethical, something i'm appalled (but not surprised) to see governments doing, and a disgusting approach to dealing with any online debate that i'm horrified to see exists.

    But I can't see how it's illegal. Perhaps it SHOULD be, but it isn't.
  18. treelover

    treelover Well-Known Member

    Sounds unlikely here in the U.K, the U.S maybe...
  19. gosub

    gosub ~#

    Seeps across the Atlantic though, remember reading an article about how nuts the US gun lobby was being, in the telegraph. I posted my belief in bullet rationing was a way round the bear arms amendment and it was like kicking a hornets nest.
    Was 1am Gmt, yet had 30 posters in 5mins telling me bullets were fire arms and not at all happy when I pointed to all the firearms legislation where it was separately mentioned. Odd way to spend an evening commenting on tomorrow's press in another country.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
    Greebo and eskdave like this.
  20. Edward Kelly

    Edward Kelly Well-Known Member

    TBH I'd be more surprised if companies DIDN'T spam forums and ytube etc. They want their name known and this is a good & inexpensive way to do it.
    You have heard of Gov. propaganda?
    Greebo likes this.
  21. Edward Kelly

    Edward Kelly Well-Known Member

    Exactly, the lobby's of all kinds are quite affective (effective?) and persuasive in the US.
    Greebo likes this.
  22. Dexter Deadwood

    Dexter Deadwood Left Voluntarily Enforced Holiday Banned

  23. Johnny Canuck3

    Johnny Canuck3 Well-Known Member

    And then we have... the click farm:


    Imagine that: selling fake Facebook likes is a $200 million per year business.
  24. tony.c

    tony.c Well-Known Member

    There was recently a story about the Israeli Government paying right wing Zionist students to troll on the Internet and twitter.
  25. quiquaquo

    quiquaquo Well-Known Member

    Greebo likes this.
  26. goldenecitrone

    goldenecitrone ubi sunt

    Greebo and frogwoman like this.
  27. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    why do u say that? sounds very likely in the uk too
    Greebo likes this.
  28. killer b

    killer b Ennui Rollins

    they don't need to pay, there's enough wankers who'll do it for free. why bother?
    Greebo, tufty79 and ska invita like this.
  29. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    :D true!
    yeah but its not about that, theres plenty in the US too...
    i dont trust it
    english language newspaper sites arent bound by national borders
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
    Greebo likes this.
  30. Corax

    Corax Read my blog you bastards.

    No one ever knows anyone directly. It's weird that. :confused:
    Greebo, Ponyutd and salem like this.

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