How prevalent are bots in astroturfing really?

On social media, I generally share lefty relevant news (like the news user) to a number of pages that are mostly active, but where it would still be very obvious to tell if someone tried to astroturf.
In about the past year and a half, around the 2016 elections between Trump and Hillary, I've started to notice that more replies to what I share tend to be the same peculiar sorts of reactions and comments that are very dismissive and also oddly out of place when you look at what's similar and not about these accounts and the timing of their posts, etc.
I suspect that there's something very off about these accounts, and at most that it's part of a larger interest that is materially motivated to push these views however "uncanny" it seems, and it definitely doesn't mind pushing reactionary views about capitalism in the US and stopping criticism of it.
Which goes back to the title of my OP
And am I witnessing that?

Other urls found in this thread:

The internet is controlled opposition. All of it.

I'd want to expand on this: I know that the narrative in the US about Russian interference in the elections, including about the "troll farms", is questioned a lot here.
But given that there is a lot of anti-worker actions by the Trump administration that is partially reported, the "uncanny" reactions that I'm talking about are the ones that are poorly criticizing this for not being pro-Trump and have generic or otherwise similar accounts, including the posting-style.

Forgot to finish my post: So, I'm guessing what I'm saying is, what exact kind of operations are going on here and who is it being run by if some of my suspicions are immediately, provably true?
And what of some of these things even correlating with reports about national (mostly "Russian") deep-states running astroturfing campaigns, among other tactics?
Whatever is happening, it is mostly and undeniably aiding whoever is pushing reactionary talking-points more, which admittedly makes me rather bitter.

Does anyone recall the thread discussing something along the lines of "Russian trolls" or "interference" at least from a few days ago?

Still can't find even a cached version of it, but it seems to have discussed the possibility of deep-state linked entities in Russia pushing unabashedly pro-Trump neoliberalism through the Internet.

If you post pics it would be easier to tell you if your dealing with bots/shills.


I expect there are probably shilling operations run/funded by random conservative porkies too.
The point is: how do you counteract this along with the bots?

Good point, more domestically some Koch Brothers-related group may have a hand in these things. Mercer possibly too.


That’s pretty good, especially the bit about leftists spewing out… right-wing propaganda.

More than you think. Bots already account for more than half of the internet traffic.

That's right, Porky is automatizing shitposting. We're done for.

So I've been looking through Twitter for likely bots that have been spouting indistinguishable, brainlet-tier talking-points that practically exist to keep some of the more George W. Bush-type Republicans in line with whatever offending mannerisms or positions that Trump commits to (and there obviously must be much more to this).
I've discovered that one pro-Trump account claims to be a member of either the US Congress or Colorado state legislature, which I quickly found out to be false, and actually uses a stock photo. If it's always this easy for me to find a bot, it really is pervasive and it must be a matter of public interest to see what entities are enabling and operating this astroturfing campaign.

The FCC has just been refusing to investigate a mysterious attack on their own site by anti-net neutrality spam which utilized the impersonation of real people, coincidentally while Trump's FCC re-appointee Pai is preparing anti-net neutrality policies.
NY Attorney General:
How far does the complicity go?


there are probably bot nets out there manipulating online conversations. from what I've read though, government intelligence agencies are really bad at doing this type of astroturf. it's more likely that you just have dedicated reactionaries hired by porky running them from their basements, popping adderall and staring at twitter 12 hours a day

also bots are better at STEERING or DERAILING debate instead of fabricating debate or tricking people through traditional propaganda campaigns. A bot net of about 200 accounts could easily seize (for example) a twitter hashtag, promoting benign tweets and burying hostile tweets


In 2006, a company called "NetVocates" raised some controversy (but apparently not enough for a concise Wikipedia article) for being a rather transparent attempt at astroturfing on blogs and boards.
The kind of stigma "NetVocates" had then (for at least some left-liberals during W.) as an earlier astroturf-related service is sort of bittersweet to look back to


In b4 'go back to reddit', but


In book VIII, chapter 5 of The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides said, concerning the operations of another oligarchic conspiracy, something that has relevance to the situation in which we find ourselves:

< Those who took the floor were of the conspiracy and the speeches that they pronounced had been submitted in advance to the examination of their friends. No opposition manifested itself among the remainder of the citizens, who were frightened by the number of conspirators. When someone tried, despite everything, to contradict them, one soon found a convenient way of making him die. The murderers weren't found and no pursuit was made of those one suspected. The people didn't react and were so terrorized that they estimated themselves happy, even in remaining mute, if they escaped the violence. Believing the conspirators much more numerous than they were, the people felt completely impotent. The town was too large and they didn't quite know each other, so that it was not possible for them to discover what it really was. In these conditions, so shameful were the people that they could not confide their grief to anyone. Thus, one had to renounce engaging in an action against the guilty ones, because it would have been necessary to address oneself either to an unknown person or a person of knowledge in whom one didn't have confidence. In the democratic party, personal relations were everywhere stamped with scorn, and one always asked oneself if he with whom one had business wasn't coniving with the conspirators. There were actually among the conspirators men whom one could never believe that they had rallied themselves to the oligarchy.

If history should return to us after this eclipse, which depends on factors still in struggle and thus on an outcome which no one can exclude with certainty, these Comments may one day serve in the writing of a history of the spectacle; without any doubt the most important event to have occurred this century, and also the event that one least ventures to explain. In different circumstances, I believe I could have considered myself greatly satisfied with my first work on this subject, and left it to others to consider subsequent developments. But in the moment at which we are, it seemed to me that no one else would do it.

behind netvocates (and it’s link to customscoop)
I was looking at inbound links this evening and came across one originating behind the firewall of a company called NetVocates which is a "blog intelligence and advocacy service". The website blurb says, reasonably enough:
"…blogs frequently impact an organization and its products and image in uncontrolled and often unexpected ways. In addition, the sheer volume of blogs, message boards, and other discussion forums makes it difficult for organizations to effectively monitor the activity relevant to them."
Organisations want to know what people are saying about them online – that makes perfect sense. However, I spent a bit more time on the NetVocates site and found this:
"NetVocates then recruits activists and consumers who share the client’s views in order to reinforce those key messages on targeted blogs – and rebut misinformation when appropriate."
So they hire sockpuppets to go out and pretend to be "ordinary users" when they post stuff on blogs? ANYONE THINKING OF HIRING A COMPANY TO DO THIS needs to think very seriously about the backlash that’s likely to happen if people find out. Don’t believe me? Then see this post about a company that tried it and got caught.
Other bloggers who have found themselves visited by NetVocates include:

Make Chai, Not War
pandora’s jar of mixed nuts

What do each of these have in common? Well, based on a very brief visit to each, I’d say they all discuss political issues at least some of the time. On my visits, Pandora’s was discussing nuclear power plants in Australia, Cracks most recent post was about American troops in Iraq but the following post had a link to an article about energy, MakeChai describes himself as a "Pakistani American Muslim… human rights and responsibilities advocate…" and PSoTD has a "leftie blog" badge on his site and reckons the netvocate people visited this page about the Al Gore movie. I also just found this guy who posted about Net Neutrality on the day he was visited.

I’m starting to worry…

So who are they? Well, a search of the whois database on network solutions, where they registered their domain name late last year, found that the owners are Griffin Strategy Group, LLC who list an email address at as their contact and a non-sense contact phone number of 999 999 9999. Searching based on the listed zipcode + "Griffin" I found this page which seamingly ties netvocate to a profile on iKarma for Chip Griffin, Chief Innovation Officer at CustomScoop, a trademark of "eOutreach Solutions, LLC". Which leads me to a biography of Chip who also has his own blog here. Customschoop has actually been featured in TechCrunch and in this post on Micro Persuasion who, I reckon, don’t have a clue that Chip is also involved in a company like NetVocates.

So returning to the whole who is Chip Griffin question, a quick google search throws up lots of stuff. He seems to write a lot of stuff of interest to Republican candidates, congressman, etc and his own blog says: "Griffin worked for a variety of politicians, think tanks, and public relations firms in the Washington, D.C. area. In addition, he headed, a conservative internet portal." I won’t embarrass the guy by telling you he used to be into knifemaking and castle wolfenstien…

So do people out there know that the guy behind NetVocates, a service that watches blogs and message boards then hires "activists and consumers who share the client’s views in order to reinforce those key messages on targeted blogs" is also the guy behind CustomScoop, a service that’s getting some kudos in the blogosphere? Somehow I think people haven’t noticed – what blogger would talk up a service that has a sister service that, basically, pays people to post comment spam?!

There’s still some room for a bit of sleuthing around this… have you been visited by NetVocates? What was your content about? Maybe you’ve been approached to "blog" or "comment" by them? Let’s find out more.

Update 22:52 BST: It looks like cracksinthefacade and PSoTD both posted about the Al Gore movie, as did the Pandora’s jar guy – so someone has paid to find out what people are saying about the Al Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Did you post about the film? Did you get inbound links from NetVocates? More interestingly, did any user comments appear and what did they say? Let’s see if any feedback posted looks similar…

Update 18.22 BST 06/01/06: Chip has posted a bit of info on his blog in response to this and posts made by other bloggers. One paragraph of it, if true and I have no reason to doubt that it is, makes me feel quite a lot better about the idea of NetVocate asking people to post comments (see my other post – I’ve since changed my mind about that). Chip says: We have a few basic principles we ask all of our staff and the activists we work with to operate under. First, we ask our activists to only engage on issues they actually believe in. Second, we ask everyone not to lie about anything. Third, we ask our activists not to create multiple online personalities to engage in blogosphere conversations.

How.. relevant.
As this blog post says, the top man of this astroturfing project in 2006 was importantly involved in, where he indicates his involvement with the conservative Heritage Foundation that has been/is Koch and Mercer-connected, with the possibility that any of these names may also be involved with pro-Trump neoliberal/neocon astroturfing on the Internet as of recently.

And regarding the Mercers, there was this classic thread on the 'establishment' connections of the right-wing and critical Trump-supporting Mercer duo.



It's a meme to enforce groupthink. That's why it's all over right wing boards.

They're everywhere lad.

This is a thin slice of what my country has been up to. Pretty much confirms everyone's suspitions.

Also, this is from Snowden's leaks. Why has the internet on the whole forgotten about what we discovered during that time? Why do people go on debating the existance of these agencies when it's been 100% confirmed? The world seems to have gone back to the narative from the pre-Snowden days. Could they not come up with a new narrative, and have just steered us back? Even reputable news outlets seem to have forgotten what they were reporting on just four years ago, talking in possibilities instead of what's been clearly evident for years now.

Let me introduce you to JTRIG, the Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group.

JTRIG’s core functions include:

Goals include:
So they were probably the ones who leaked the EDL's list of names from their online store.

Is this entrapment? Or helping allies?
DNS spoofing mim injection?

disrupt, delay, deceive, deter or dissuade.

Part of the risk assesments that they have to fill out include
This pretty much confirms OP's suggestion. They are everywhere.

But yeah, i'm bored now, and i barely got through one third of a single leaked document.
Have a look yourself everyone. If this is what a small, 'secret' division of the UK's GCHQ can accomplish, imagine what's really going on.

I shilled for several years for one of the major Euro political parties. AMA

Or derailing the tread after my post?

Either you're a LARPer, an ex-shill, or an active shill.

Not derailing anything really, it's my first time posting in this thread. Can't post proofs but it's a major centrist party.
Oh fuggg :DDD
But seriously places like Holla Forums are the last in mind of the people i shilled for. They want you to shill for normies, they're the target group

which party, what years

Not telling
3 years

What is the kind of work that shills do, described more accurately?

Posting on social media and on the media outlets that matter for the cause. Based on the news and happenings at the moment, you are instructed where to go and what to post. Often it's a classic smear campaign. Sometimes an expression of praise or approval for your team that shouldn't be too obvious."Attack" in groups and waves but not too obvious and assertive. Posts mustn't look like obvious shilling either (though most of the time they look exactly like that) and should be crafted in a fashion that will attempt to change reader's perception of events in our way. Usually a bunch of logical fallacies, depending on the situation. The goal is to keep the narrative on your side, and for your side to dominate the media space. Even if you fail to convince someone, you still have to dominate the media space. We live in a time where average joe believes everything he reads on the internet without checking for sources. Internet as a freemarket for ideas is bullshit, everyone's trying to fuck up everyone by forcing their shit and their agenda. From payed dildo ads to payed opinions, everything on the internet is a battle between conflicted groups. You'd be amazed at how much money certain groups are willing to give away just to have their voice heard.

Looks like you dominated the narative of the thread there.
strange how this ALWAYS FUCKING HAPPENS whenever i post proofs of anything shilly.
Please kindly go back swinging elections and covering for pedos some place else.

I don't get it, why would they be messing with companies so much?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it's pretty fucking prevalent. I'm trusting my gut because so far my gut has been right about all this shit that's come out about the alt right that just sort of magically materialized harder than ever during the 2016 American election cycle.

It's suspicious enough that I think a metric fuck ton of bots were involved and still are involved. But like I said, that's just my gut speaking. But my gut hasn't been wrong most of the time.

Fuck knows. Corporate espoinage seems to be a big thing for these agencies. Crony capitalism etc.

Just imagine the scenario

This is about power for them. Money means power too within capitalism.

Also, if you look at the CIA, they fund their black ops through corporate espionage (as well as drug/human trafficking). This is properly happening within most agencies that have to keep off the books.


Remember [[[[[[[pg]]]]]]]?
Find a back up of the pg threads at the time for all the proof you need op.

How realistic is it that the top comments on Facebook are shills? I mean, I always encounter the same pro-EU, pro-Macron, pro-Merkel bootlicking shit every fucking time when I check the comments. It's always the same guys too. How do they manage to post two seconds after the article was posted and then get the most likes everytime?

I've encountered a pro-Merkel top comment yesterday that was so fucking cringey and distorted from reality that people in response legitimately asked if that's satire - yet this is still the top comment.

I know what you mean by smearing. The people who shill on social media for the establishment are always the ones being unreasonably hostile. I kid you not, I had more constructive and open discussions with alt-righters than with these pro-establishment liberals, they resort immediately to personal insults. The good thing about being a communist is that you can counter the accusation of being a right-winger.


Being honest here, I encounter a lot more alt-lite style shitposts by 'people' with unbearably stupid and unreasonably hostile post histories usually when Trump is mentioned, which could perfectly be the work of some factory of pork-funded brainlets. This shit is getting out of hand.

Additionally, the persistence of their comments and opinions this late into Trump's self-demoralizing presidency don't make much sense so it's reasonable at this point to suspect that much of these people were paid and soulless shills all along.

i don't know but in greece it's a common phenomenon
major politicians were caught having fake accounts retweeting and liking their shit
all online newspapers have commenters spamming the same propaganda even if it has little or nothing to do with the articles above (they use real people)
at the same time they some delete posts for criticising
in youtube the nazi party uses bots to get all their videos trending

I do know that the Tr-mp team is the master of astro-turfing, their online shill presence is simply staggering. It helped him squeak through to the victory, the fake shills were definitely a factor.

Why sage the thread, just to then agree?

He was probably more interested in the other threads on the first page and didn't want to disrupt that.

Clinton's been at it since 2007.

Lefties keep screaming about how Trump worked with the Russians to hack the election. Meanwhile thousands of Russian bots made social media posts posing as Black Lives Matter and other racial/Islamic idpol groups.
A black martial arts teacher was reimbursed by Russian operatives for lefty/anarchist self-defense classes

Now Facebook is doing an about-face: denying that bot posts and Russian-sponsored ads played any signficant role in the election.

examples of astro-turfing & shills who know nothing of the board climate

Nothing to do with climate mate. Just posting the truth. I've posted a good amount in this thread.

Oh dear.


They're likely just Holla Forumsyps that think they are smart for shitposting about how "liberals do it too" on a leftist board.