It appears that the Western-backed opposition in Thailand is attempting to create the illusion of popular support online after failing repeatedly to create it in the streets of Bangkok, the nation’s capital.
Hundreds of suspicious accounts either clearly bots and sockpuppet accounts, or exhibiting suspicious behavior have begun promoting pro-opposition propaganda in unison after nearly a year of apolitical but equally similar activity.
The campaign resembles the manifestation of US government programs admittedly aimed at manipulating public perception through the use of false social media accounts which were revealed as early as 2011.
The US Has Sought to Manipulate Social Media for Years
Attempting to control what is and isn’t popular is the desire of all involved in the field of marketing and politics. The ability to amplify the perceived popularity of a political idea or party to tap into the bandwagon effect is a temptation most involved in politics are not ethical enough to avoid.
During World War II, British operatives regularly manipulate US public opinion polls to reverse steadfast anti-war sentiment.
Today, the US has admittedly taken this process to social media where it uses – among many other techniques – software solutions like automated bots and multiple sockpuppet accounts used by single users to spread pro-American propaganda.
This was revealed as early as March 2011 by the Guardian in an article titled, “Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media,” which admitted:
The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.
The article would continue by describing contracts already awarded to companies to procure this technology – and by describing the capabilities of such technology:
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations “without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries”.
The article also admits:
Once developed, the software could allow US service personnel, working around the clock in one location,