Thread is close and hoaxed. The author admitted in a private exchange that the entire story was fabricated.
I am writing here to come out of the closet as a paid shill. For a little over six months, I was paid to spread disinformation and argue political
points on the Internet. This site, ATS, was NOT one that I was assigned to post on, although other people in the same organization were paid to be
here, and I assume they still walk among you. But more on this later.
I quit this job in the latter part of 2011, because I became disgusted with it, and with myself. I realized I couldn’t look myself in the mirror
anymore. If this confession triggers some kind of retribution against me, so be it. Part of being a real man in this world is having real values that
you stand up for, no matter what the consequences.
My story begins in early 2011. I had been out of work for almost a year after losing my last job in tech support. Increasingly desperate and
despondent, I jumped at the chance when a former co-worker called me up and said she had a possible lead for me. “It is an unusual job, and one that
requires secrecy. But the pay is good. And I know you are a good writer, so its something you are suited for.” (Writing has always been a hobby for
me). She gave me only a phone-number and an address, in one of the seedier parts of San Francisco, where I live. intrigued, I asked her for the
company’s URL and some more info. She laughed. “They don’t have a website. Or even a name. You’ll see. Just tell them I referred you.” Yes,
it sounded suspicious, but long-term joblessness breeds desperation, and desperation has a funny way of overlooking the suspicious when it comes to
putting food on the table.
The next day, I arrived at the address – the third floor in a crumbling building. The appearance of the place did not inspire confidence. After
walking down a long, filthy linoleum-covered corridor lit by dimly-flickering halogen, I came to the entrance of the office itself: a crudely battered
metal door with a sign that said “United Amalgamated Industries, Inc.” I later learned that this “company” changed its name almost monthly,
always using bland names like that which gave no strong impression of what the company actually does. Not too hopeful, I went inside. The interior was
equally shabby. There were a few long tables with folding chairs, at which about a dozen people were tapping away on old, beat-up computers. There
were no decorations or ornaments of any type: not even the standard-issue office fica trees or plastic ferns. What a dump. Well, beggars can’t be
The manager, a balding man in his late forties, rose from the only stand-alone desk in the room and came forward with an easy smile. “You must be
Chris. Yvette [my ex-co-worker] told me you’d be coming.” [Not our real names]. “Welcome. Let me tell you a little about what we do.” No
interview, nothing. I later learned they took people based solely on referral, and that the people making the referrals, like my ex-colleague Yvette,
were trained to pick out candidates based on several factors including ability to keep one’s mouth shut, basic writing skills, and desperation for
We sat down at his desk and he began by asking me a few questions about myself and my background, including my political views (which were basically
non-existent). Then he began to explain the job. “We work on influencing people’s opinions here,” is how he described it. The company’s
clients paid them to post on Internet message boards and popular chartrooms, as well as in gaming forums and social networks like Facebook and
MySpace. Who were these clients? “Oh, various people,” he said vaguely. “Sometimes private companies, sometimes political groups.” Satisfied
that my political views were not strong, he said I would be assigned to political work. “The best people for this type of job are people like you,
without strong views,” he said with a laugh. “It might seem counterintuitive, but actually we’ve found that to be the case.” Well, OK. Fine.
As long as it comes with a steady paycheck, I’d believe whatever they wanted me to believe, as the guy in Ghostbusters
After discussing pay (which was much better than I’d hoped) and a few other details, he then went over the need for absolute privacy and secrecy.
“You can’t tell anyone what we do here. Not your wife, not your dog.” (I have neither, as it happens.) “We’ll give you a cover story and
even a phone number and a fake website you can use. You will have to tell people you are a consultant. Since your background is in tech support, that
will be your cover job. Is this going to be a problem for you?” I assured him it would not. “Well, OK. Shall we get started?”
“Right now?” I asked, a bit taken aback.
“No time like the present!” he said with a hearty laugh.
Continued in the next post
edit on 4/4/12 by SkepticOverlord because: (no reason given)