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Author Topic: The internet's paid trolls  (Read 405 times)

islander

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The internet's paid trolls
« on: October 18, 2016, 01:52:01 PM »

Bots, paid trolls are ‘purveyors of artificial ignorance’

'The Internet is not so much as public debate anymore as it is a screaming match,' says Vince Lazatin of the Transparency and Accountability Network

By Mara Cepeda
Sat, Sep 24, 2016


TECH AND PUBLIC DEBATE PANEL. From left to right: Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, Transparency and Accountability NEtwork's Vince Lazatin, Rappler reporter Pia Ranada, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility's Vergel Santos, and Thinking Machines founder Stephanie Sy. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Transparency and accountability advocates warned against the increasing number of bots and paid trolls online, calling their presence the downside of evolving technology today. 

Transparency and Accountability Network’s Vince Lazatin called bots and paid trolls as “purveyors of artificial ignorance” during the Technology and Public Debate panel at the #2030 Social Good Summit on Saturday, September 24. 
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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Re: The internet's paid trolls
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2016, 01:53:45 PM »

“They are purveyors of artificial ignorance and I think this is what we’re seeing a lot on the Internet, especially on social media. And because of that, it has swayed public opinion,” said Lazatin.

“And what I’ve noticed when we talk about public debate, the Internet is not so much as public debate anymore as it is a screaming match. Whoever screams the loudest gets the most attention. And I think this is the sad thing about the Internet and social media today,” he added.

According to Lazatin, some influential personalities like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump may even be considered as a troll.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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Re: The internet's paid trolls
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2016, 01:54:20 PM »

“People like Donald Trump are sort of the world’s biggest troll because they put forth half-truths, sometimes outright lies, and people eat that up. Then it ripples out into the Internet galaxy in exponential rates. And what started out as a lie or half-truth becomes the truth when it reaches the general public,” said Lazatin.

Veteran journalist Vergel Santos of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility acknowledged the positive effects of technology, as it allows for better transparency and accountability in society.

But for him, the Internet these days is being used as a “brutal, vulgar, indiscriminate” weapon. 

“Technology has no morals. Technology has no values. Technology is too neutral for us to be relying on it alone,” he said.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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Re: The internet's paid trolls
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2016, 01:55:38 PM »

Defense vs bots, trolls

Thinking Machines founder Stephanie Sy said one way to fight back is to identify when an account is a bot, but she she said this is difficult.

“It’s actually like a real war between two types of technologists. Every time someone builds a better bot detection, someone else builds a better bot,” she said.

Sy said, however, that studying the patterns of how bots post can help better identify ways to stop them. She added that bots are normally not connected to accounts of real human beings.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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Re: The internet's paid trolls
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2016, 01:56:05 PM »

“If someone is just talking about one topic, has no friends, no followers, he only talks about one topic and posts about it every two milliseconds, that’s definitely a bot….But now, bot makers are getting more sophisticated in making human patterns and human interactions,” Sy said.

Lazatin, however, has a quick tip on how to defend oneself against trolls: ignore them. 

“I think trolls feed on attention and so the way to deal with the trolls is not to give them attention. That’s it,” said Lazatin. – Rappler.com
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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Re: The internet's paid trolls
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2016, 02:03:22 PM »

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement. (wikipedia)


The advice to ignore rather than engage with a troll is sometimes phrased as "Please do not feed the trolls."
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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Re: The internet's paid trolls
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2016, 02:09:42 PM »

Corporate, political, and special interest sponsored trolls

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson is one of several in the media who has reported on the increasing trend for organizations to utilize trolls to manipulate public opinion as part and parcel of an Astroturfing initiative.

Teams of sponsored trolls, sometimes referred to as sockpuppet armies, swarm a site to overwhelm any honest discourse and denigrate any who disagree with them.

A 2012 Pew Center on the States presentation on Effective Messaging included two examples of social media posts by a recently launched "rapid response team" dedicated to promoting fluoridation of community water supplies. That same presentation also emphasized changing the topic of conversation as a winning strategy.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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Re: The internet's paid trolls
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2016, 02:11:06 PM »

A 2016 study by Harvard political scientist Gary King reported that the Chinese government's 50 Cent Party creates 440 million pro-government social media posts per year. The report said that government employees were paid to create pro-government posts around the time of national holidays to avoid mass political protests. The Chinese Government ran an editorial in the state-funded Global Times defending censorship and 50c party trolls.

A 2016 study for the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (NATO StratCom COE) on hybrid warfare notes that the Russian military intervention in Ukraine "demonstrated how fake identities and accounts were used to disseminate narratives through social media, blogs, and web commentaries in order to manipulate, harass, or deceive opponents."
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

islander

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Re: The internet's paid trolls
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2016, 02:12:50 PM »

The NATO report describes that a "Wikipedia troll" uses a type of message design where a troll does not add "emotional value" to reliable "essentially true" information in re-posts, but presents it "in the wrong context, intending the audience to draw false conclusions." For example, information, without context, from Wikipedia about the military history of the United States "becomes value-laden if it is posted in the comment section of an article criticizing Russia for its military actions and interests in Ukraine.

The Wikipedia troll is 'tricky', because in terms of actual text, the information is true, but the way it is expressed gives it a completely different meaning to its readers." Unlike "classic trolls," Wikipedia trolls "have no emotional input, they just supply misinformation" and are one of "the most dangerous" as well as one of "the most effective trolling message designs."

Even among people who are "emotionally immune to aggressive messages" and apolitical, "training in critical thinking" is needed, according to the NATO report, because "they have relatively blind trust in Wikipedia sources and are not able to filter information that comes from platforms they consider authoritative."
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

islander

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Re: The internet's paid trolls
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2016, 02:24:46 PM »

While Russian-language hybrid trolls use the Wikipedia troll message design to promote anti-Western sentiment in comments, they "mostly attack aggressively to maintain emotional attachment to issues covered in articles." Discussions about topics, other than International sanctions during the Ukrainian crisis, "attracted very aggressive trolling" and became polarized according to the NATO report, which "suggests that in subjects in which there is little potential for re-educating audiences, emotional harm is considered more effective" for pro-Russian Latvian-language trolls.

Psychological characteristics

Researcher Ben Radford wrote about the phenomenon of clowns in history and modern day in his book Bad Clowns and found that bad clowns have evolved into Internet trolls. They do not dress up as traditional clowns, but for their own amusement, they tease and exploit "human foibles" in order to speak the "truth" and gain a reaction. Like clowns in make-up, Internet trolls hide behind "anonymous accounts and fake usernames." In their eyes they are the trickster and are performing for a nameless audience via the Internet. (wikipedia)
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

 

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