Shill Tactics. Know Your Enemy.

Posted: February 8, 2015 in Tech


Here’s an article worth reading. A shill confesses his online activities in another well known conspiracy theory forum:

I Was a Paid Internet Shill: How Shadowy Groups Manipulate Internet Opinion and Debate

Anybody who visits these forums should take some time to read a guide like this and get familiar with the tactics the shills will use against you:

The Gentleperson’s Guide To Forum Spies

Some keywords you might not be familiar with…

Astroturfing: Astroturfing refers to political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are designed to mask the sponsors of the message to give the appearance of coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant.

Sockpuppet: A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person. The term now includes other misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a person or organization, or to circumvent a suspension or ban from a website. A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer. Many online communities attempt to block sockpuppets.

strawman sockpuppet: A strawman sockpuppet is a false flag pseudonym created to make a particular point of view look foolish or unwholesome in order to generate negative sentiment against it. Strawman sockpuppets typically behave in an unintelligent, uninformed, or bigoted manner and advance “straw man” arguments that their puppeteers can easily refute. The intended effect is to discredit more rational arguments made for the same position. Such sockpuppets behave in a similar manner to internet trolls.

lets look at an example in action…
JIDF shills: “Leading the Fight Against Antisemitism & Terrorism online. Coordinating Concerned Citizens Globally. Promoting Israel, Jewish Pride, Knowledge, and Unity.”
Jewish Internet Defense Force @JIDF on twitter

Israel To Pay Students $2,000 For Pro-Israeli Social Media Propaganda.

1) Some JIDF members are agent provocateurs. They post controversial stuff in order to root out the members they should target

2) They have scouts or “tracer bullet” shooters, who try to extract opinion from neutral members.

3) When they detect someone who is not pro Israel, that user is placed in a software list. Some sites with voting like Reddit, allows them to automate downvoting comments and posts from people on the list.

quote from Reddit…
The up/downvote brigades are invisible. Only the scouts and provocateurs are visible, but some of them rotate accounts on a frequent basis, it’s hard to pin them down.

After you chat with him, you’ll be either placed on a pro Israel list or a “black list”. For instance, I think I’ve been placed on a black list. Now every comment of mine is getting downvoted, about 3 to 4 downvotes per hour.

If, for some reason, the upvotes on my comments beat 3 to 4 downvotes per hour, the comment escapes the JIDF net. Otherwise you get buried.

In this system, they’re able to censor a good percentage of comments. Of course if half of America comes in upvoting some comment, it escapes the JIDF censor net and gets seen. But a large large percentage of comments get buried before they exit the /r/worldnews/new page.

That’s how they work: one guy provokes, another guy extracts info and shoots tracer bullets, the gang comes in up or downvoting accordingly. They’re gaming Reddit systematically and very efficiently I must say.


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