'Fake people' on social networks?
0 comment Friday, May 9, 2014 |
These days I am not likely to doubt much that I read when it comes to the powers-that-be and their antics.
I think we've discussed similar things in passing here, the idea (which has been admitted in various places) that paid operatives or provocateurs or disinformation agents stir things up on blogs, forums and other places. Why not do the same in the most popular internet venues, the social networking sites?
''The US government is offering private intelligence companies contracts to create software to manage "fake people" on social media sites and create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues.
According to the contract, the software would "protect the identity of government agencies" by employing a number of false signals to convince users that the poster is in fact a real person. A single user could manage unique background information and status updates for up to 10 fake people from a single computer.The software enables the government to shield its identity through a number of different methods including the ability to assign unique IP addresses to each persona and the ability to make it appear as though the user is posting from other locations around the world.''
The impression is given that this new software is still in the development stage, when it appears that this kind of thing is being done already.
The article states that one of their purposes is to ''create the illusion of consensus'' on certain issues.
Peer pressure works on the Internet as in 'real life', after all. Too many people will simply follow the lead, taking cues from what 'the majority' seem to be saying on a given issue, and the bandwagon effect kicks in.
The article does not say this, but I say that there is also the opposite going on: people fomenting disssension, attacking other groups or viewpoints, so as to break up a developing consensus and set people against one another. I believe this serves their purposes very well. The technique of breaking up incipient activist groups is something that is well-practiced. And even the very act of discussing something like this serves the purposes of the sowers of discord; the fact that people may not be what they purport to be causes us to be wary and to distrust people more.
And there are individuals who are probably stirring up distrust and bad feeling on their own, out of malice or just to watch the fireworks when everybody starts squabbling and name-calling. There is something about the Internet, the anonymity perhaps, that encourages the worst instincts in some people, and makes them bold to say things that would not be acceptable in face-to-face contacts among people.

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