Social media is used to control public sentiment in many countries. Some have concluded that it’s even in use in the United States by companies and interested political entities. In China, it’s sanctioned by the government, huge in scope, and brilliant in methodology.
A study led by Harvard political scientist Gary King concluded that nearly 500 million fake social media posts are put up by the government every year.
Chinese Gov’t Fabricates Several Hundred Million Social Media Posts a Year to Influence Public Opinion About the C… https://t.co/LpTaxuMtw1
— Patriot Mom (@PatriotMomNDJ) May 20, 2016
The numbers are astounding, but more impressive is the methodology. The “50 cent army” is named for rumors that these people are paid a little money for every pro-government post. Rather than going on the attack to debate anti-government posts, they take a different approach. They distract. They engage and change the subject.
This means that China has learned it’s easier to diffuse rather than provoke and defend. With that volume of posts put up every year, we’re talking about a ton of distraction to keep people away from organizing in the streets and more focused on what’s trending on television.