Can you spot the sock puppet?

We would all like to think that each thought is uniquely our own, but in the case of the 2013 Australian elections, our thoughts were being influenced… and we didn’t even know it.

So 2013 was the infamous year that Tony Abbot and Kevin Rudd went head to head to become the Prime Minister. Whilst there was a lot of debate in parliament, there was also debate on Twitter. But whats the difference?

Whilst we watched the debate on TV, we saw real people giving their real opinion with real support.

On Twitter, we also saw people, giving their opinion and support. Except, these weren’t real people, these were sock puppets.

digc-meme

These sock puppets–backed with a false identity– would use the online platform to influence the voters and sway them in a particular direction to support a specific candidate. They would tweet, retweet and mention key political figures where their tweets would be disguised by other human tweets making it easier for consumers to believe the information. In turn, the sock puppets created discussion around the candidates by popularising hashtags and spreading propaganda whilst too deceiving our thoughts.

After media speculation, it was found that both candidates combined had 28000 followers who were botnets or cyborgs in the form of either sock puppets of meat puppets.

What does this tell us about the governments that are in place today? They not only govern the masses but govern the cyber-masses by enforcing surveillance whilst too manipulating us into thinking a certain way… and we don’t even notice that it is happening.

 

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6 thoughts on “Can you spot the sock puppet?”

  1. Hey Monique! Good post regarding ‘Sock Puppets’, I like how you have delved into an example from our own nation. It’s a very interesting concept and one that can applies to childish behaviors, creating fake profiles to defame or build a reputation. Through under government standards, it is regarded as something like ‘online persona management’. I now wonder what other digital platforms and content are being driven by powers alike, and perhaps if important issues such as asylum seekers are too being misrepresented. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Loved your meme and the examples provided in your post- I completely had no idea this was happening during the 2013 election! High profile individuals using sockpuppeting to build their online persona isn’t a rare thing. Celebrities such as Katy Perry who has the highest Twitter following on the site, actually are made up by a lot of fake accounts and bots, as this article describes- http://popcrush.com/katy-perry-90-million-twitter-followers-fake-bots/ Apparently the number of followers is more important in building your prestige online, than the number of followers who are real, individual people.

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  3. Really interesting read! This reminds me of the recent census being online and how it sparked fears of personal information being pertained and leaked by the government. I like that you kept the example in Australia, makes it easy to relate to and understand. Great meme too!
    🙂

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  4. oh boy 2013 election, i remember that vaguely, i didnt use much social media back then (only recently just gotten twitter) its funny how you mention elections, i think iv noticed alot of this sock puppeting going on now with the US Presidential Elections with various Twitter accounts being made for and against both big party candidates. I wouldnt be surprised if some of the voters for that election are influenced by these phony accounts

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  5. Ding dong, harry here. great post! The meme had to be my favourite part of the blog post, it was great. Your referencing was excellent and made it easy for the reader to access the information you had found that helped to formulate and create an opinion. It was a great read! Well done

    Liked by 1 person

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