Everyone knows about lobbying, but until very recently, I didn't know about the whole "astroturfing" thing.
EDIT: Not sure why I'm being downvoted for this... I didn't really intend to make my post partisan, though I realize that the self-deprecating "bleeding-heard-liberal" might appear that way.
This doesn't strike as being a conservative vs. liberal issue. Most of us can probably agree that it's an unacceptable attack on the foundations of a representative democracy.
And as a social conservative with strong "law and order" leanings, the apparent fraud and identity theft make me very angry. The unwillingness of the federal government to investigate this only adds to my frustration and anger, because it smacks of (at least) passive corruption.
From the article:
>The companies and groups subpoenaed on Tuesday, according to the person with knowledge of the investigation, include Broadband for America, Century Strategies and MediaBridge. Broadband for America is a coalition supported by cable and telecommunications companies; Century Strategies is a political consultancy founded by Ralph Reed, the former director of the Christian Coalition; and MediaBridge is a conservative messaging firm whose website boasts of helping to place hundreds of thousands of comments on net neutrality during Mr. Obama’s presidency on behalf of one client.
If you want to reduce spam and bot participation there needs to be a formal registration process with multifactor authentication of unique identifiers and it must not be anonymous.
Actually, since the FCC proposal specifically called for soliciting public comments to inform the decision, those comments can be seen as influencing the outcome, since lawmakers were expected to read and consider them.
It is an attack on Democracy in a very roundabout way (roundabout because this wasn't an election, it was regulatory action put in place by officials that were put in place by elected officials). But in any case, citizens were asked for what they thought in a way that affected an outcome they would have to legally abide, and it appears that their voices where stifled. That actually is a fairly obvious attack on Democracy in general, even if it's only an attack on our Democracy at a distance.
In fact, if an agency said "we picked rule A because that is what the most people wanted," that would probably be an error that could warrant reversal of the rule in court. The whole point of agencies is that they're experts insulated from the political process. Their job is to analyze the law and the data to reach a reasoned conclusion (e.g. by conducting a cost-benefit analysis). Courts will reverse an agency if they engage in fallacious or erroneous reasoning. Deciding that an option is better because it is more popular would be such an error.
That's interesting. So does "we got a lot of comments from people noting how they've experienced what looks like monopolistic behavior in isolated instances that might inform whether can can expect this behavior to increase/decrease if we rule for/against the action?" count as or towards a policy argument? Legal arguments I can see being fairly specific, but policy (to my mind at least) is much more open to interpretation. Or is there some specific legal definition of policy argument they must adhere to here?
But fraud no matter how easy it is to commit is still fraud. Lying to the FBI is easy to do and probably easy to get away with, but people often don’t because the penalties are severe if you are caught. A similar system could work here if there was political will to prosecute this fraud.
This is only true if you somehow believe that no one is affected by things they read online ever.
(A milder—in volume terms—version where you try to make substantive comments seem like they are coming from involved parties with a different interest than yours—say, on a healthcare reg, a payer presenting fraudulent provider comments, might be useful, except in that case there is a lot more risk that someone would follow up on the particular comment and turn up something fishy.)
Go research how similar write-ins have been done for decades for broadcast decency TV standards.
It used to mean placing positive stories in the trad media. Now it means placing positive stories in the trad media, and also using shills and bots to influence social media.
Nation states also do it. Is this story true, or is it manufactured?
Is the Bloomberg chip story true, or is it manufactured - maybe to demonstrate that the US can easily put market pressure on selected Chinese businesses?
(I don't actually know the answer to either of those questions. Worldwide, only a handful of people do.)
Cognitive violence and zero-trust media have become endemic. This is a problem for any democracy, because you can't have genuine democratic accountability system when mass media of all kinds are weaponised for political ends.
You've been on HN since 2015 and you didn't know about astroturfing? You encounter it daily here. This isn't a criticism of you, but I despair a bit. How new is this issue to other commenters?
If you think you see it happening, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can investigate. But there's a reason why the site guidelines ask you not to bring this up in the threads: it damages good faith and is nearly always false.
I assume you’re referring to all the commenters with whom you disagree.
I've made it a personal objective of mine to send him a Christmas card every year, forever, until one of us dies, reminding him that he's a knobhead for bending over for big telecom.