Those who spend their time on social media are well aware of “trolls,” people who intentionally manipulate public opinion online through the spread of disinformation and propaganda. Many of these subversives are paid. The “hundreds” hired by Michael Bloomberg in California get a lot more money than you would ever imagine. Facebook decided to allow the practice but Twitter isn’t backing down. They just flagged at least 70 of Bloomberg’s trolls for “platform manipulation and spam.”
Big bucks to manipulate the social media message
Yes, there really are people paid to disrupt your Facebook posts. They start fights, post photo bombs, antagonize, and generally behave like barbarians. The Wall Street Journal reports that liberal billionaire Bloomberg is paying his trolls $2,500 a month. At least the hundreds he hired in California. All they have to do is “post regularly on their social media accounts.” Of course, the messages are all “in support of the former New York mayor.” They make it easy to manipulate the internet for fun and profit. “As part of that effort staff are provided pre-written messages to share online.”
Simply posting memes slanted toward one side of a particular issue don’t sway opinion enough, so that’s where the social media special forces come in. If the trolls have been armed with talking points for a certain issue, they use them. When that doesn’t work, they do their best to marginalize their opponent by name calling and misdirection. If those tactics fall flat, they post graphic images designed to keep people scrolling right past the post they don’t want seen.
Twitter calls what Bloomberg is trying to pull, “platform manipulation and spam.” According to their spokesperson, “we took enforcement action on about 70 accounts, which includes a combination of permanent suspensions and account challenges to verify ownership.” In this case, his operatives were simply flooding the internet with pro-Bloomberg messages. Facebook and their subsidiary, Instagram, caved in and allowed the practice. Twitter is standing firm. Their policy clearly prohibits, “coordination among accounts to amplify or disrupt conversation by using multiple accounts.” That includes, “coordinating with or compensating others to engage in artificial engagement or amplification, even if the people involved use only one account.”
Money is no object to Bloomberg
Forget about all that messy campaigning, Bloomberg insists. That only gives people a chance to ask awkward questions. For instance people keep asking him about the way he treats women like pieces of meat, and the non-disclosure agreements he gets them all to sign. He picked up both those habits from his buddy Jeffrey Epstein. That’s another reason why he hides behind an army of trolls. He already dumped half a billion dollars on television and internet advertising. The former New York Mayor even set up a special company for it. Hawkfish.
Bloomberg owns the tech start-up and his campaign is it’s biggest client so far. He injected $25.7 million to start his campaign efforts to manipulate the election. Since last year, Hawkfish LLC has been “apidly hiring tech executives, data scientists, software engineers and machine learning experts.” It’s headquarters is inside his midtown Manhattan campaign HQ. Their page on Linkedin describes the company as “a new startup to build state-of-the-art data and tech infrastructure for Democratic candidates, good causes and common sense solutions.”
There are some of the industries heavy hitters filling key slots, including Ex-Facebook chief marketing officer Gary Briggs, former Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck, and Tim Castree, who used to be CEO of WPP Group subsidiary GroupM. Another key executive is Eric Kuhn, known as “the first agent in Hollywood to focus on social media.” His job title at Hawkfish is “a senior advisor working on digital organizing and influencers.”
Bloomberg seems to know exactly what he’s doing. According to data scientist JT Kostman, “Bloomberg is not only the best funded, but candidly far and away the most sophisticated with data.” The whole purpose of what Bloomberg is doing is to create one single impression in the minds of voters. “By using social network analysis to identify the most influential people and targeting them to share messages, Hawkfish is able to create a sense that ‘everyone is saying this.'”