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posted by takyon on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the just-my-hundred-million-cents dept.

Current Affairs published an in-depth editorial on recent revelations about a $1 million astroturfng campaign by Correct the Record:

Astroturfing makes me angry. It should make you angry. It should make you fucking well see red. It's marketing evolved into something incredibly scary, sophisticated, and evil. It's essentially thought warfare, or psychological warfare, which takes away much of what was supposed to make the internet a new and beautiful frontier of communication. Worse yet, if you actually identify and approach these operatives, they'll gaslight you and deny that they are such an operative. These are people who are paid to psychologically abuse you. Do you get this? It's an ugly and evil thing, and not only does it take away our ability to take information and fact at face value, but it takes away our ability to take opinions, feelings, and personal stances at face value as sincere and legitimate.

takyon: For some additional context, "Hillary-supporting super PAC invests $1 million to hit back at online Clinton critics":

Correct the Record, a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton's bid to become US president, has promised to invest more than $1 million to respond to users criticizing its candidate on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, and other social media services. The super PAC says its new "Barrier Breakers digital task force" will to respond "quickly and forcefully to negative attacks and false narratives found online," in addition to thanking major supporters and "committed superdelegates" directly.


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  • (Score: -1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:28AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:28AM (#337211)

    I'll tell you why. Why is that worse than hordes of #GamerGaters flooding tech forums with vicious posts bashing women involved in video game development, waving off reports of death threats as an "obvious false flag", and threatening companies like Intel unless they withdraw advertising from gaming sites they don't approve of?

    Why is that worse than anonymous, unpaid posters posting pro- and anti- Trump, Hillary, Sanders, and Cruz? What difference does it make if they're funded or not. If someone has time on their hands they can log into 20 different newspaper forums every day and troll in favor of their candidate, and against their opponents. Why should these people have 100x the influence of anyone else, just because they have spare time and no qualms about abusing the forums?

    You gotta learn to read posts with a critical eye.

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  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:34AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:34AM (#337214) Homepage Journal

    Gamergate isn't about women - it's about neoliberal political correctness. Gamergaters refuse to be emasculated to make the crazy people happy.

    --
    There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:41AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:41AM (#337218)

      > Gamergate isn't about women - it's about neoliberal political correctness.
      > Gamergaters refuse to be emasculated to make the crazy people happy.

      So, you've given up on ethics in game journalism then.

      Also "neoliberal" - that word does not mean what you think it means.

      • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:55AM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:55AM (#337232) Homepage Journal

        Your SJW's don't know what ethics are, so yes, I've given up on ethics in the businessworld in general. "Game journalism"? That's what it's called when adults can't find a job, and they spend their lives playing, talking, and writing about games, right?

        --
        There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:07AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:07AM (#337239)

          So now you are just randomly blathering whatever is on your mind.
          How very trumpian of you.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:26AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:26AM (#337254)

          Your SJW's don't know what ethics are,

          Au contraire, Mr. Texarkanan! SJWs invented ethics! What do you think the S and J stand for?

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:31AM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:31AM (#337257) Homepage Journal

            Marketing buzzwords.

            --
            There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @03:47AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @03:47AM (#337287)

              That would be M and B.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by ikanreed on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:59AM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:59AM (#337270) Journal

      Oh look, an idiot who doesn't know what neoliberal means.

      Hint: it's not the liberal equivalent of neo-conservativism.

    • (Score: 2) by patella.whack on Tuesday April 26 2016, @05:50AM

      by patella.whack (3848) on Tuesday April 26 2016, @05:50AM (#337331)

      sorry dude, I like your comments, but neo-liberalism is not the droid you're looking for.
      Maybe that's a chink in Smaugaway's armour?

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by frojack on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:47AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 26 2016, @01:47AM (#337225) Journal

    Why is that worse than anonymous, unpaid posters posting pro- and anti- Trump, Hillary, Sanders, and Cruz? What difference does it make if they're funded or not. If someone has time on their hands they can log into 20 different newspaper forums every day and troll in favor of their candidate, and against their opponents. Why should these people have 100x the influence of anyone else, just because they have spare time and no qualms about abusing the forums?

    I honestly can't figure out which side of which issue you are on here. Who are the THESE PEOPLE you refer to?

    And posting AC while talking about trolls abusing forums? Priceless!

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday April 26 2016, @03:56AM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday April 26 2016, @03:56AM (#337294) Journal

    as it has 1.- Exactly fuck all to do with Hillary, the PAC paying for atrsoturf, or anything in TFA, 2.- Done AC so nobody can see a posting history, and 3.- is designed to derail discussion of the topic at hand by starting a flamewar.

    For fucks sake guys this is crapflooding 101 here and you are falling for it, I thought this site was supposed to be smarter than that!

    --
    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @05:35AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26 2016, @05:35AM (#337323)

      OH, crap! Sorry, Hairyfeet, just saw your handle and let loose troll mod out of habit! My bad. So what were you saying? Do you need some help forming coherent sentences? Soylentils stand at the ready to assist you.

    • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Tuesday April 26 2016, @06:19AM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Tuesday April 26 2016, @06:19AM (#337339) Journal

      I thought this site was supposed to be smarter than that!

      Sites aren't smart (yet), users are. In an open community you get all kinds, not only the smart ones. Make yourself at home :-)

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday April 26 2016, @10:05AM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday April 26 2016, @10:05AM (#337399) Journal

        It doesn't change the fact that, in no less than a fucking article ABOUT a politician paying for professional trolling and crapflooding, we have as the very. first. post. an example of professional trolling right out the textbook [washingtonsblog.com] and what happens? Instantly derails the discussion and keeps anybody talking about anything BUT the crooked fucking politician!

          I mean for fucks sake guys, what do you think they bought for their million bucks? They bought EXACTLY what you are seeing here. Tell me if this sounds familiar "And trolls will often spew divisive attacks so that people argue against each other, instead of bad actions and policies of the powers-that-be. For example, trolls will:Start a religious war whenever possible using stereotypes like “all Jews are selfish”, “all Christians are crazy” or “all Muslims are terrorists”.

        Now riddle me this Soylent...is this an article about Gamergate? Gaming sites? Ethics in reporting? No? Then why are you falling for such an obvious ploy that could have only been more textbook if they threw in a few racial slurs! I mean c'mon guys, its an anon, so again no way to see the posting history (as I have zero fucking doubt if the admins here could check their IP its probably coming from a list of corporate addresses), it has exactly fuck and all to do with the article (because you don't call your boss names, now do you?) and its designed to derail the thread and start a flamewar that has ZERO to do with the article....mission accomplished.

        This is the kind of shit that irks me, people act like "oh those dumb corps, spent millions but they can't manipulate ME har har har" and then they promptly fall for this shit. They aren't stupid guys, they are using the same kind of manipulation that major governments use in their PsyOps programs [rferl.mobi] but it only works if you let it which is what makes me sad, tech sites are SUPPOSED to have guys a liiiitle more savvy than this. I mean for fucks sake guys, I really shouldn't be the one to have to point this out, the second that fake ass troll post came on it should have been fucking BURIED, and the only responses should have been "that has what to do with this article exactly?" and that should have been the end of it.

        I really hope everybody here pays a little more attention in the future, because if even the most cluless, the politicians, are getting into this? Yeah we are gonna be seeing this kind of pro trolling and crapflooding from everybody from defense corps to dishsoap makers.

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 1) by Osamabobama on Tuesday April 26 2016, @09:48PM

          by Osamabobama (5842) on Tuesday April 26 2016, @09:48PM (#337641)

          As I read the first post (with my pre-conceived opinion guiding me) I thought it was a reasonable way to call out the author for advocating anger. The article (well, the summary...) had two basic points: this is wrong, and be angry. Without addressing the first point, frojack artfully rejected the second point.

          I tend to agree; if the internet makes you angry, there is a bottomless pool of material to keep you that way. That might even be worse than being uninformed. Let's imagine one group (obviously nefarious) wants to keep voters clueless about what's really going on, so that they might retain power over others. Another group (are they nefarious?) wants people to realize this and get angry, so that they can remove the first group from power and install someone else. The anger furthers the goals of the second group, as it prods people to action. Perhaps not thoughtfully considered action, but action, nonetheless.

          With regard to the PsyOps only working if you let it, the same can be said for anger. Don't let it get to you.

          (All that being said, I haven't been keeping score against frojack. Maybe he does support astroturfing, but that is outside the scope of his First Post in this instance.

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          Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
          • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday May 03 2016, @08:05AM

            by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 03 2016, @08:05AM (#340709) Journal

            Uhhh...maybe they buried it but the first post at the top of the page when I wrote the above was an anon trying to start a gamergate flamewar by purposely insulting anyone who has a pro gamergate stance which stats show is the majority on tech sites...again right out of the pro trolling textbook as it derails discussion, had nothing to do with the PTBs that the article was calling attention to, and was posted anon so no looking at the history which I have zero doubt was the only post by that person.

            As for frojack? From what I can gather he is one of the "corporation yay!" flag waving types with a possible bit of Randian cheerleading thrown in, which is fine and dandy if that makes him happy. At least we know he is an actual person with actual views as we can plainly see from his posting history, which is why I always believed that anon posting shouldn't be allowed without some sort of reputation system built in. The anon post and TFA shows exactly why this is required, because using basic PsyOps you can completely derail discussion and deflect any and all criticism of a target by simply starting a flamewar on an unrelated subject.

            --
            ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
            • (Score: 1) by Osamabobama on Thursday May 05 2016, @11:43PM

              by Osamabobama (5842) on Thursday May 05 2016, @11:43PM (#342300)

              I went back and skimmed the comments with my threshold set to -1, and now many of the comments have more context; I see what you meant. I wouldn't say I missed out on any valuable points the first time, though.
              I will try to remember the threshold setting next time...

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              Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
              • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Sunday May 08 2016, @08:49PM

                by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday May 08 2016, @08:49PM (#343285) Journal

                The sad part was until I pointed out it was a classic corporate troll right out of the PsyOps playbook? It had already reached a +3 rating and had pretty much killed all discussion of the subject at hand which was a crooked politician.

                This is what makes that kind of shit really dangerous, and why i truly believe a reputation system for ACs is required, because people just don't seem to understand how easy it is to signaljam any and all discussion with just a bit of psychology. You post as AC, so nobody can see your history of doing this shit, you pick one of the many topics that don't have jack shit to do with TFA that often cause flamewars, and you post something insulting designed to start a fight....it really is THAT easy and because so many people think "Hur hur hur, stupid governments/politicians/corps spending millions on PsyOps online, they will NEVER affect me hur hur hur" it can be as blatant as the one I cited and they NEVER pick up on it until someone actually points out "You are being played".

                Now that social media is taking the place of the press this is something we REALLY need to be mindful of, remember these groups aren't spending millions of dollars just to put out a couple tweets, their goal is to completely derail any discussion that isn't propaganda beneficial to their "brand". This is big business now, as I linked to you have fricking governments employing thousands to do nothing but troll forums and social media and signaljam and push agitprop, which is why this is so insidious as just like every protest now you have to wonder "is that other person an agent for the ones we are rallying against here to wreck shit?". Lucky for us at this point they do tend to follow playbooks, in the future? Its gonna be ever harder to separate real person from wrecker.

                --
                ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:46PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday April 26 2016, @02:46PM (#337517) Homepage Journal

        If a site's users are smart, the site is, too.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday April 26 2016, @06:48PM

    by HiThere (866) on Tuesday April 26 2016, @06:48PM (#337583) Journal

    While you have valid points, they don't suffice.

    Bigots are one thing, and, yes, an evil thing. But they aren't as bad as orchestrated subtle manipulation. The difference is that you can fairly reliably recognize a bigot. A careful astroturfer you can't.

    --
    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.