Back in April 2016, a Hillary Clinton SuperPAC called 'Correct the Record' issued a press release blatantly informing the public they would be spending more than a million dollars to pay Clinton trolls and shills to "engage in online messaging both for Secretary Clinton and to push back against attackers on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram."
For those that would claim "well it is only one SuperPac," we will remind them that back in 2007, the Clinton campaign was busted for the same type of trolling, registering to sites anonymously, using multiple names for the same one person, also known as "sock-puppets," to boost pro-Hillary commentary and counter anti-Hillary attacks.
As the comment thread revealed, users pinballwizard, elf, shley24, MTAY all registered in succession to recommend the diary. A further look by us revealed that:
* they had registered within minutes of each other, including another user a bit later, janbaby, who was not among the recommenders,
* the same IP address was used by all of them, and is registered to the Clinton campaign,
* two other recommenders, blues and kmeisje, also registered from the same IP address.
The point being these paid trolls/shills exist, are paid to ramp up support for Clinton and to attack the GOP nominee for president Donald Trump using whatever methods are the most productive dependent on what type of forum they are working at the moment.
For example, like cockaroaches swarming to left out food, they have converged on the popular social website Reddit, up-voting pro-Hillay threads en masse so they are seen by a wider audience and down-voting pro-Trump threads en masse to prevent them from being seen by a wider audience. This has been noted to the extent that Reddit users have now "declared war on Hillary's paid Internet trolls."
One of the top posts on /r/DNCLeaks right now states, "CTR is in here heavy today. Make sure you are generous with your upvotes and downvotes to counteract these jerks." That post currently has 1,143 points (the number of upvotes a post receives, minus the number of downvotes).
"I think they are making a final 2 week desperate push for their terrible candidate," reads one of the post’s top comments, from a Redditor who goes by the username "SchlangeHatRecht."
"Stupid CTR slaves… Get a life and/or a conscience instead of being a propaganda slave for a power that apparantly needs propaganda," another user –"letusfake" — commented.
"CTR is being shifty. They downvote comments to '1' but not below so it doesn’t look like them shilling. They’re trying to make us seem low energy; we’re not. We’re MAGA!" reads one popular post on subreddit /r/The_Donald, which is the largest pro-Trump subreddit on the site with more than 240,000 subscribers.
"CTR Downvoted the HELL out of my post proving the Podesta emails are verified to be 100% real and accurate. Here’s the PROOF again. (don’t let them downvote it again)" another person posted on /r/The_Donald on Thursday.
Paid trolls/shills are not simply trolls that spam a comment section with advertising (RE: Jim the boot guy!), or with get rich schemes, yet they do use some of the tried and true tactics of regular trolls, which much to my surprise in researching Internet trolling, I found there are over 100 different types of trolling, a list put together by DARK PSYCHOLOGY.
While I won't list all 100 types of trolling, I will highlight what has been noted in almost any type of forum that allows commenting, whether it is a website that allows comments like ANP, or Facebook posts which allow people to weigh in, or Twitter where they 140 characters to troll others, any format that allows interaction.
A quick note before getting into the types of trolling: There is a difference between a troll and someone who just disagrees with something, it usually comes down to whether the behavior is noted about a particular topic or whether it is a pattern of behavior regarding a number of different topics. Don't assume someone is a troll because they simply have an opinion other than your own. Watch for patterns and mixture of types of trolling.
The list below is a partial list of the top 18 types of trolling was put together by SMOSH, and includes the following:
The Rabid Flamer: This guy likes to make trouble for his own amusement. If nothing particularly nasty is going on, he’ll whip out his flamethrower and burn everyone in his path, especially denizens of parenting or pets chat rooms.
The Crybaby Troll: If someone says something mean to the Crybaby, she’ll become hysterical and swear she’s never coming back to the board. Of course, you’ll see her three days later when she slinks back for more abuse. The Crybaby often tells on you to the mods and swears she’s going to get you banned.
The Never-Give-Up, Never-Surrender Troll: This troll is ALWAYS right and will battle to the death to prove it. There’s no point in trying to fight her. If she can’t back something up with reality, she’ll make something up, just to show you how wrong you are.
The Self-Feeding Troll (AKA Sock-Puppets): This guy likes to argue, even when everyone else in the fo tells him he’s wrong. Without support from his nonexistent friends, he changes handles—or makes up new ones—to show the fo how loved he is.
The Profane Screamer: If someone says something even remotely critical of the Profane Screamer, he’ll TYPE IN ALL CAPS, telling you what a @#$# you are and insulting your mom. The Profane Screamer is often a noob and often turns into The Crybaby.
The Expert: The Expert knows everything about everything and loves to share his knowledge. He’s a lawyer, a doctor, a senator, a pro-ball player, a historian, an engineer … in reality, of course, he’s an unemployed temp living with his mom.
Other examples from the list of 100, include some of the following:
I didn’t read what you said but here’s what I think” Troll: He doesn’t read your piece. He doesn’t need to: he knows what he thinks already and what he knows is, he hates everything you stand for and you’re wrong and he’s going to say so, every column you write...
Holy Misroller: Holy Misrollers are those online forum participants who give Christians (or other religious adherents) a bad name. The HM believes himself or herself to be a Christian (etc.) and will generally tell anyone who’ll listen about his or her faith in God and in Jesus. At the same time, however, the HM will display decidedly un-Christian behavior, frequently making an *** out of him/herself. The HM is often characterized by a great deal of anger and hostility.
Concern Troll: A person who posts on a blog thread, in the guise of “concern,” to disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be getting themselves in trouble, usually with an authority or power. They point out problems that don’t really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending.
Agenda Troll: Agenda trolls are those participants who join a forum specifically to pursue an agenda of their own, often a feud or grudge with another member, or perhaps a dispute with some party not participating in that forum. When a flame war erupts on another board, for example, Agenda Trolls will follow their opponents to other forums in order to continue the spat.
Cryer: They tend to take everything as a personal assault, and love nothing more than feeling offended. And if they can’t feel offended directly, they also love being offended on other people’s behalves.
HOW TO SPOT A CLINTON PAID INTERNET SHILL
While Clinton shills will utilize many of the types of trolls listed above, their main goal is to push for Hillary Clinton for president and the methods they utilize is directly dependent on what type of forum they are on.
For example, if on a pro-Hillary thread, they will only troll people that are bringing up damaging information on Hillary, they will not address the information itself, they will attack the person posting it. They will also attempt to distract from the damaging Clinton information by bringing up something unrelated to said information to derail that topic and push attacks against her opponent, Donald Trump. Classic bait and switch.
If on a format that is basically equally divided with both Trump and Clinton supporters debating civilly, they will attack, brutally and as offensively as possible on a personal front, including name calling, accusations of being a troll against those debating respectfully, while never addressing the individual topic being discussed.
If on a pro-Trump thread, knowing direct attacks against Trump or supportive statements about Clinton is too obvious, they will attempt to deflect with concern, highlighting questions, then becoming distressed when they don't agree with the answers, inducing sympathy from other users, as if they are being attacked when they originally brought the topic up and asked for a discussion.
Last but not least, you are unsure if someone you are interacting with is a troll, give the benefit of doubt, but watch and note patterns... each of us has made comments that could have fit into one of the types at one point or another. If a reader thinks there is an actual paid troll in a thread, flag the comment, it won't disappear but it will prompt an email to the moderators and then we will follow the thread and see if there is indeed a pattern before we do anything.
There is one basic rule of dealing with anyone you think may be a troll.... DON'T FEED THE TROLLS.
If there is a discussion going on, an intense debate, but everyone is being civil, even in their disagreements, then chances are you are not dealing with a troll, after all we are all individuals coming to discussions with our own life experiences and that is what makes for great discussion and debate and allows observers to see different points of view.
With that said, when someone comes into a discussion and instantly starts attacking others, being deliberately offensive (the key there being 'deliberately' because some people are brutally blunt and it is not their intent to be offensive), or deliberately inserts themselves into a discussion by attempting to distract with comments that are completely out of sync with said discussion, then you are dealing with trolling behavior even if they are not a "troll" per se.
Ignore them, continue with your conversation, in other words, "don't feed the trolls."
Once again, it is important to note that in the day and age of the Internet - 1) People are so used to the anonymity of being behind the keyboard, someone offensive may not be a troll, they may just have been programmed to think that type of behavior is accepted everywhere... quite often a reminder that civility is a commenting guideline, turns them into a welcome and informative member of a commenting community. 2) Some people are more sensitive than others, so we cannot assume just because a person needs space after an intense discussion, that they automatically fit into a troll category just because everyone didn't agree with them... don't baby them, but don't write them off either. 3) Remain civil because when a troll cannot bring you down to their level, they will expose themselves fast by changing from a reasonable tone to outright nastiness and attacks and then they will leave.
As shown by Reddit users declaring war on paid Clinton Internet shills, these trolls are utilizing any and all methods to shut down discussion, to make sure that anything related to Clinton scandals are seeing no light of day and cannot be shared with wider audiences. The original million dollars to be paid to online Hillary shills was recently increased to six million dollars, so we know they are working overtime in the countdown until the election.
Noting their behavior, the methods they employ, and refusing to allow them to derail a conversation, is one of the best ways to counter their antics. We are days away from the presidential election and Clinton shills are crawling out of the woodwork on social media, forums and in comment sections.... don't give them what they want.