quote: Participants report that they are organized into teams and groups of commentators that participate in Russian and international political blogs and Internet forums using sockpuppets, social bots, and large-scale orchestrated trolling and disinformation campaigns to promote pro-Putin and pro-Russian propaganda.
Please allow me to point out the obvious. This site is an "Internet forum". So either, I am making this up or you can read right here in black and white, that Russia is targeting internet forums! Okay? So it doesn't matter whether you think agents aren't interested in this site or not. It is well known and reported that they are. So now what is a sockpuppet?
See how we're getting into actual industry terms? This is what we're dealing with here.
quote: A sock puppet is an alternative online identity or user account 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 use of the term has expanded to now include other misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend, or support a person or organization, to manipulate public opinion, or to circumvent restrictions, such as viewing a social media account that they are blocked from, suspension, or an outright ban from a website. A significant difference between a pseudonym and a sock puppet is that the latter poses as a third party independent of the main account operator. Sock puppets are unwelcome in many online communities and forums.
Now let me give you another term. This is my first time hearing this one too but it's mentioned in the previous article.
quote: Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious, or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source's financial connection. The term astroturfing is derived from AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to resemble natural grass, as a play on the word "grassroots". The implication behind the use of the term is that instead of a "true" or "natural" grassroots effort behind the activity in question, there is a "fake" or "artificial" appearance of support.
So, as you can see, there is a science to this. If an agent is able to post, unchallenged, as if they are a member of that community, it gives off the appearance that their messages are credible and even approved by the group they are posting in. So by doing nothing we are legitimizing the things the agent is using this website in order to broadcast.
And marketing, as many people know, often involves a "drip". The customer sees your name or product in several places which increases their awareness of your brand. It also legitimizes it. So the more websites agents are able to post the same ideas on the more people use these different websites to cross-reference or corroborate these ideas and it acts as a kind of validation. This is part of the reason so many people believe in conspiracy theories now. It's because agents are planting them in more places so by the time a person has seen the same "information" so many times they start to trust it.