How Government Agents Troll Online to Divide and Confuse

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by Joe Jarvis, The Daily Bell:

The real story of online deception isn’t about the Russians. Sure, the Russians certainly have their own programs to disrupt and steer online discourse. But how quickly the public has forgotten about the U.S. government’s own internet troll program.

Edward Snowden leaked documents used by the “Five Eyes” alliance of governments. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia–basically Oceania from 1984–get together to spy on each other’s citizens. That’s how they cleverly get around laws against spying on their own citizens.

The leaked documents included a presentation about how government agents should disrupt online discourse.

There is a lot of overlap between these tactics, and often more than one are used simultaneously. For example, there has been a big push by the media to convince you that the end of net neutrality is a bad thing. They are masking the true nature of net neutrality–it really gives the government power to regulate aspects of the internet. And then they repackage net neutrality as necessary for freedom and open access to the internet.

When deploying government sponsored trolls online, the agents will mimic real commenters in order to sound more believable. They gain credibility since people are more likely to trust those they perceive as similar to them.

Sometimes government agents invent a crazy story and attribute it to a movement. This discredits the movement. Think Flat Earth Theory. Those primed to believe conspiracy theories get sucked in. Then all the true conspiracies are grouped in with the bogus one.

If a true conspiracy theory comes out, they invent 100 others to obscure the real one. In order for the truth to be lost among the falsities, they invent various levels of “conspiracy theories” from the slightly believable, to the absurd.

Hillary Clinton really is a corrupt psychopath. But she is not a shape-shifting reptilian alien.

From the evidence, it seems the United States government was in some way involved in the 2001 attacks on the twin towers. But did they use holograms of the planes, and fire a laser into the towers? Probably not.

The conspiracies become too unbelievable to some, and they throw the truth out with the government manufactured lies. For those that do believe the false details of a true conspiracy, they walk away with an inflated sense of how powerful and all knowing the government really is.

This also works to the government’s benefit. The over-the-top conspiracy theories become the decoy. They can then exploit those beliefs to create cognitive stress, which is another tactic of control.

Trump is the ultimate manifestation of their tactics to control attention. Trump is a big move which does a lot of masking the small moves. The media pays attention to his tweets, not his actions. When he does push for legislation, like a repeal of Obamacare, and it fails, attention drops because that seems to be the end of that.

And every time this happens, vigilance wanes. Another tweet, another legislative failure, another snub? We get it. But do we really get it?

Repetition. By now we are so used to misconduct by government officials, we just don’t pay attention anymore. Yet when the story about Pizzagate came to light, it was grouped in with conspiracy theories. No need to investigate. We were primed to put that story into the false category. But the new cue is sexual assault, and we are primed to believe any accusation, regardless of the evidence.

In efforts to demonize Bitcoin, many of these tactics are used. I’m not saying Bitcoin is beyond criticism. But I’ve seen commenters claim it was created by the CIA. That is just silly.

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