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In the annals of internet conspiracy theories, none is more pervasive than the one speculating paid government plants infiltrate websites, social network sites, and comment sections with an intent to sow discord, troll, and generally manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations. Guess what: it was all true.
And this time we have a pretty slideshow of formerly confidential data prepared by the UK NSA equivalent, the GCHQ, to confirm it, and Edward Snowden to thank for disclosing it. The messenger in this case is Glenn Greenwald, who has released the data in an article in his new website, firstlook.org, which he summarizes as follows: "by publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself." Call it Stasi for "Generation Internet."
The Conspiracy Theory Is True: Agents Infiltrate Websites Intending To "Manipulate, Deceive, And Destroy Reputations"
Update 4/3/2012: Above Top Secret’s legal agent never responded to our request for clarification of their takedown request. The original thread has now been moved to the “Hoax” category of the website, as ATS claims the author admitted it was a hoax in a private exchange. To the best of our knowledge, this private exchange or the details thereof have not been posted publicly to substantiate this claim. Regardless, we believe that covert operations to manipulate online opinion and debate do exist (and indeed have been publicly acknowledged in many of the supporting links below). Whether this specific case is true or not, it remains a valuable and provocative dialogue still worthy of consideration.
I Was a Paid Internet Shill: How Shadowy Groups Manipulate Internet Opinion and Debate
originally posted by: NavyDoc
originally posted by: ScientificRailgun
a reply to: Indigent
They bring a happy cow to your table and make you watch as they hack a piece off, grind it up and grill it to smokey perfection. That way you know your burger was smiling just before it hits your table!
Rather than eating cows who didn't want to be eaten, they evolved cows who did and could say so clearly and distinctly.