Thread Corporate Troll Bot Invation

OzSTEEZ

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http://www.alternet.org/media/150049/corporate-funded_online_'astroturfing'_is_more_advanced_and_more_automated_than_you_might_think/?page=entire

Corporate-Funded Online 'Astroturfing' Is More Advanced and More Automated Than You Might Think
February 24, 2011

Every month more evidence piles up, suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren’t what they seem to be. The anonymity of the web gives companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns, which create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there’s a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.


After I last wrote about online astroturfing, in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. 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. Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public.Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression that there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I’ll reveal more about what he told me when I’ve finished the investigation I’m working on.

But it now seems that these operations are more widespread, more sophisticated and more automated than most of us had guessed. Emails obtained by political hackers from a US cyber-security firm called HB Gary Federal suggest that a remarkable technological armoury is being deployed to drown out the voices of real people.
 

dbzeag

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It's too bad services like this can't be used for good; like informing elected officials in real time EXACTLY what the public is thinking, not what corporations are telling the officials what the public is thinking.
 

OzSTEEZ

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It's too bad services like this can't be used for good; like informing elected officials in real time EXACTLY what the public is thinking, not what corporations are telling the officials what the public is thinking.
There's no money in that though..
 

b_sinning

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ODS I would think being paid to argue online about stuff would be right up your alley.


There is a great movie along a similar vein that is recent called The Joneses.
 
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OzSTEEZ

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ODS I would think being paid to argue online about stuff would be right up your alley.


There is a great movie along a similar vein that is recent called The Joneses.
The people paying are on the opposite side of the political spectrum to me.
 

dbzeag

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Why wouldn't they still have to fund them?
They would be rendered redundant. If you are parsing people's comments about postings in news stories and getting a general feel of what people are thinking and saying, why would you have a group of people that do pretty much the same thing, but with far smaller sample sizes in biased conditions with dubious conclusions at best?