Guardian.co.uk’s George Monbiot brings up some very interesting points in a recent article, “The Need to Protect the Internet from ‘Astroturfing’ Grows Ever More Urgent“.
Currently engaged in research on the topic, Monbiot reveals details he has so far uncovered about the way corporations are hiring people to comment in forums on political issues. Companies then implement sophisticated software, effectively creating as many as 10 or more “individuals” replete with online histories, social media accounts, and “personalities” to engage in online discussions on behalf of the corporations that generate them. The purpose is to make it seems as if there are legions of individuals who are arguing for causes that it might otherwise be hard to get real people behind.
The next time you get hot under the collar because the obstinate douche bag you’re in a flame war with seems almost robotic in his idiotic argument, stop and ask yourself if he just might be a bot. Let’s hope that these tactics don’t encroach on our ability as individuals to argue for the causes we are passionate about. Remember. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.