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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #41)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 11:19 PM

42. Just do some Googling on astroturfing - big organizations have some sophisticated tools.

The software is called "persona management software." With it, a single person could put together not just a few sockpuppets, but dozens, or even hundreds, or thousands. Not just here on DU, but on dozens of forums, and Twitter, Facebook, and countless other places online. Creating personas is automated to just a few mouse clicks & keystrokes, the personas are automatically built with accounts on multiple sites - so a sockpuppet on DU might also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and a working email address and so on. The accounts would be automatically aged - automated posts, such as fluff posts in the Lounge or the less-trafficked forums can be used to boost the post count, for example, or posts of Youtube videos or news articles can be used to boost the post count without looking like spam or raising red flags suggesting a computer is generating posts.

You can no longer assume that the only people up to no good here on DU are the Beavis and Butthead types from Free Republic with a post count of two that manage to get a half-dozen mispelled posts out before getting PPR'd. These guys are slick. Some of the accounts they've "aged" for years, so they'll seem like long-time regulars. And in fact, you can have different accounts for different purposes - a quick throw-away persona that's sacrificed as a "troll" to drop a turd in the punch bowl to take a temperature check on an issue and see how people react, and a high-age persona used to lend legitimacy and "come to the rescue" of another persona that's getting called out or challenged. And maybe several medium-age personas used to dogpile a particularly meddlesome opponent ("HOW DARE YOU MAKE ACCUSATIONS OF SHILLING! THAT HURTS OUR FEELINGS!"

http://boingboing.net/2011/02/18/hbgarys-high-volume.html

HBGary's high-volume astroturfing technology and the Feds who requested it
By Cory Doctorow at 10:57 am Friday, Feb 18

The enormous corpus of email leaked from federal security contractor HB Gary following Anonymous's hacking of the company's servers continues to deliver compromising payloads.

This time, it's internal emails detailing the creation of "persona management" software to simplify the process of pretending to be several people at once online, in order simulate widespread support for a point of view -- astroturfing automation software. The software appears to have been developed in response to a federal government solicitation seeking automated tools for astroturfing message boards in foreign countries.

Persona management entails not just the deconfliction of persona artifacts such as names, email addresses, landing pages, and associated content. It also requires providing the human actors technology that takes the decision process out of the loop when using a specific persona. For this purpose we custom developed either virtual machines or thumb drives for each persona. This allowed the human actor to open a virtual machine or thumb drive with an associated persona and have all the appropriate email accounts, associations, web pages, social media accounts, etc. pre-established and configured with visual cues to remind the actor which persona he/she is using so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate personas during use...
To build this capability we will create a set of personas on twitter,‭ ‪blogs,‭ ‪forums,‭ ‪buzz,‭ ‪and myspace under created names that fit the profile‭ (‪satellitejockey,‭ ‪hack3rman,‭ ‪etc‭)‪.‭ ‪These accounts are maintained and updated automatically through RSS feeds,‭ ‪retweets,‭ ‪and linking together social media commenting between platforms.‭ ‪With a pool of these accounts to choose from,‭ ‪once you have a real name persona you create a Facebook and LinkedIn account using the given name,‭ ‪lock those accounts down and link these accounts to a selected‭ ‪#‭ ‪of previously created social media accounts,‭ ‪automatically pre-aging the real accounts...

Using the assigned social media accounts we can automate the posting of content that is relevant to the persona. In this case there are specific social media strategy website RSS feeds we can subscribe to and then repost content on twitter with the appropriate hashtags. In fact using hashtags and gaming some location based check-in services we can make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise, as one example. There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas

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