If accurate, it really should put those town hall disrupters in a new light.
The Washington Examiner is citing a digital expert, who says the bulk of those defending the (un)Affordable Care Act online were paid to do so.
“Sixty percent of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time,” said Michael Brown. “They were paid to post.”
Brown appeared on Sharyl Attkisson’s weekend show, Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson, to tell his own experience with complaining about Obamacare online, and to explain how social media is being used to sway public opinion.
Sharyl: “What areas of the Internet are used to shape and manipulate opinion?”
Matthew Brown: “Everywhere social. Everywhere social means specific Facebook pages, but it also means the com—, it means the comment sections in every major newspaper.”
He began investigating it after his criticism of the former president’s health insurance program posted on the Obamacare Facebook page. He was hit hard by digital activists pretending to be regular people.
Speaking of “pretending to be regular people,” if you’re on Twitter and you find your notifications suddenly being flooded by egg people, who’s Twitter names are often nonsensical and are followed by a string of numbers, those tend to be bots, and they were rampant during the election season.
“Digital activists are paid employees; their purpose is to attack anyone who’s posting something contrary to the view of the page owner wants expressed,” he told Attkisson.
She reports that he evaluated 226,000 pro-Obamacare posts made by 40,000 Facebook profiles.
That’s a lot.
For those of us who have been actively engaged in the social media world during this past election season, it’s hard to ignore the element of peer influence that goes on in the various groups.
Knowing what we know about how fiercely Democrats fought to preserve the fantasy of Obamacare being this awesome, totally workable, completely affordable healthcare paragon, it’s not a stretch to imagine someone paying defenders to spend time monitoring social media and pushing the ruse.
Or to attend Republican town halls.