I had heard about corporate trolls (people paid to troll for corporations) before, but I had never looked into it much. If even half of what Sharyl Attkisson says in this TEDx talk is true than this is a much bigger problem than I realized.
I recommend you watch the whole video it is only ten minutes long. I've highlighted some key bits below.
Highlights from the video
Astroturf - a perversion of grass roots. Political, corporate, or othe special interests disguise themselves and publish blogs, start Facebook and Twitter accounts, publish ads or letters to the editor or simply post comments online to try to fool you into thinking an independent movement is speaking.
Astroturf seeks to make you feel as if you are an outlier when you are not.
Wikipedia - an Astroturfers dream come true. Billed as the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, the reality can’t be more different. Anonymous editors control and change information on behalf of special interests.
Example: in 2012, Philip Roth tried to correct a major fact error about an inspiration about one of his book characters, but his edits were always changed back to the false information. Roth finally got a hold of a person at Wikipedia and was told that he was not considered a credible source…on himself.
Wikipedia contradicts medical research 90% of the time.
Strategies to recognize signs of Astroturf:
- Hallmarks of Astroturfing - use of inflammatory language such as "crank, quack, nutty, lies, paranoid, and conspiracy." They often claim to debunk myths are not myths.
- Astroturfers often attack the people or organizations involved rather than focusing on facts.
- Astroturfers tend to question those that question authority.
So the question is: how many Facebook Astroturfers are out there telling people that Steemit is a ponzi scheme or a scam? How many Astroturfers are saying the same thing about Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies?
What if the Astroturfers know that we know about them so they try to double Astroturf us?
I think if you are getting your information from a news article, blog post, comment, youtube video, or any other source that is not the primary source of the information you could be getting turfed or trolled.
Eyes open, no fear, be safe everyone.