1.18.2014

Trolling for Dirt

Social media ‘trolls’ are not a new thing.  Since day one there has been a certain type of person who enjoys engaging in so-called ‘flaming’ or ‘flame wars’ for various reasons including hacking, harassment, and so on.

My experiences with such characters has normally been limited to those on Twitter who follow an opposing political ideology, usually low-information progressives devoid of debate skills who habitually repeat erroneous talking points.

However, lately I have encountered a few specimens on Facebook – an avenue I use primarily for personal contact with family and friends.  Certainly trolls can be found everywhere, but it’s the background of these trolls which is uncommon.

It isn’t the usual progressive suspects who have come out of their holes, it is a few self-described conservatives who are now attempting to light flame wars against other conservatives.

Upon some investigation, I and others have discovered evidence which suggests certain political parties in Alberta have formed what could be described as small squadrons of online trolls whose purpose is to create false identities (perhaps multiple accounts known as ‘sockpuppet’ accounts) and go fishing.

Their goal is to interact with supporters of other parties and draw out some sort of controversial statement or out of context quip.  Primary focus is being paid to those who are seen as possible future candidates, myself included apparently. 

Usually these trolls send a Friend Request showing they have many of the same friends you have.  Once accepted, they waste little time in unleashing leading questions or using other methods to try to lead you into discussing a topic.

They want dirt and they are digging.

For years I have been outspoken regarding the new political online battleground and the necessity to be aware of its growing importance in the overall plan.  It seems some folks have been paying attention.

If you discover one of these online warriors and confirm it is a sockpuppet or troll account, out them.  Not just where you found them, but on all social media avenues at your disposal. 

The online information war is in full swing.  The long-standing party is in severe trouble, but they aren’t dumb.  To underestimate the lengths by which they would go to keep their hands on the wheel would be foolish.

The social media frontier has become the new frontline in political campaigns.  With it come the spies.  Be aware.

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