DIGC202

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.

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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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