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Internet Apes

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Post  polka23dot Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:20 am

Over the past decade it’s become more common for political parties, businesses, and nations to hire people to post lots of favorable messages on the many popular (and influential) message boards on the Internet and social networking sites (like Facebook). The concept of deliberately placing useful opinions in public forums is nothing new. But with the Internet there are a lot more forums to spin in whatever direction you favor. In the last few years Russia quietly adopted the Chinese tactics of paying Internet users a small fee to post pro-government responses on message boards where the government is being criticized or maligned. For some members of the original Chinese "50 Cent Party" it was a full time job, receiving up to 50 cents (two yuan) each for up to a hundred pro-government messages posted a day, using several dozen different accounts... This practice of buying favorable attention in the media is centuries old. The U.S. is unique in that, for about a century, the American mass media has been largely free of this blatant bribery. But in most of the world, a clever journalist quickly attracts the attention of people who will pay for some favorable comments. It's no secret, although many journalists insist they are not bought. Senior Chinese officials call all this public-opinion guidance and are quite proud of having invented it. source: http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htiw/articles/20130212.aspx

The 50 Cent Army is running out of gas. Too many people are becoming aware of paid messages showing up in social media and messaging areas throughout the Internet... Many Internet users automatically recognize and ignore the paid messages and go out of their way to teach others what to look for. In the West many moderators of message boards have tools that allow them to instantly delete the accounts of paid posters and all their paid posts. In China you can get arrested for doing that, but not for just ignoring the paid propaganda... At one point, the government had nearly 100,000 volunteers and paid posters operating. This quickly evolved into the 50 Cent Army. In the last few years the Russian government has adopted the practice and now we have the 50 Ruble Army in Russia. source: http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htiw/articles/20130807.aspx

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