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Are online comments full of paid lies?

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Computerworld – Taiwan’s Truthful Trade Commission this week fined Korean conglomerate Samsung $340,000 for “astroturfing.”

Specifically, the Taiwanese FTC said Samsung paid two “advertising companies” more than $100,000 to hire people to “highlight the shortcomings of competing products,” engage within the “disinfection of negative news about Samsung products,” positively review Samsung products and, (in a unusual flip of phrase), do “palindromic Samsung product marketing,” no matter that means.

Wait, what’s ‘astroturfing’?

Samsung was once fined for paying a “huge number of hired writers and specific staff” to put up comments in online forums praising Samsung and criticizing rivals.

Astroturf is a model of pretend grass; “astroturfing” is a reference to a fake “grass-roots” motion.

The observe of astroturfing has a protracted and sordid history. The term used to be coined by using U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas in 1985, regarding a letter-writing campaign orchestrated through the insurance coverage business. Actually, astroturfing has been an immense software of political dirty tricks because the Roman empire.

The Upward Push of the Web, on-line messages boards and social media — and with it, the rising influence of “the group” — has introduced the follow to industry, including the mobile computing trade, in addition to different forms of companies.

Sites like Fiverr host astroturfing transactions brazenly. A Fiverr user named “Jay from India,” for example, offers to advertise your iOS, Android or BlackBerry app on 25 online boards for $10.

Astroturfing scale stages from the native industry the place the owner asks family and pals to jot down certain on-line evaluations to the largest sustained astroturfing marketing campaign in history: China’s 50-cent army.

The Chinese Language government reportedly pays as many 300,000 folks to submit pro-Chinese executive feedback on boards, message boards and social media Web Sites within China and everywhere the arena. It has reportedly being going on for years as a part of a sustained coverage.

(This effort of disinformation bolsters that executive’s huge monitoring gadget for social media worldwide, which reportedly employs 2 million individuals.)

While China allegedly relies upon sheer manpower to weigh down global public opinion about the Chinese govt, different organizations use automation.

A Category of tool referred to as “persona administration device” magnifies the effectiveness of each and every paid faux opinion writer with the aid of auto-producing a reputable however phony on-line persona (often known as a “sockpuppet”), including a pretend title, email handle, website online, social media profiles and different data. The instrument creates pretend online task to offer the non-existent users a “historical past” or on-line “footprint.”

“Persona administration software” Explicit to social networks is referred to as a “social bot.”

Some industries count almost completely upon web-based opinions, and so astroturfing is rife. Accommodations, restaurants and books are closely reliant on purchaser-generated reviews to attract new business.

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