After hours of research you decide to post a comment on an article you read on the Internet. A few seconds after your comment appears, replies flood in refuting your position:
“All your facts are wrong. Grow up, jerk.”
“Clueless comment from dope!”
“Keep you uninformed delusions to yourself!
Sometimes, these tirades continue against comment for hours, even days. Confused, I had no idea where these tirades originated until I read this report from US Right to Know:
Biotech giant Monsanto is being accused of hiring, through third parties, an army of Internet trolls to counter negative comments, while citing positive “ghost-written” pseudo-scientific reports which downplay the potential risks of their products.
In March, a judge ruled, despite Monsanto’s objections, that the documents obtained by the plaintiffs could be released.
One document released alleged that:
Monsanto even started the aptly-named ‘Let Nothing Go’ program to leave nothing, not even Facebook comments, unanswered; through a series of third parties, it employs individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry, who in turn post positive comments on news articles and Facebook posts, defending Monsanto, its chemicals, and GMOs.
Plaintiffs alleged the company “quietly funnels money to ‘think tanks’ such as the ‘Genetic Literacy Project’ and the ‘American Council on Science and Health”– organizations intended to shame scientists and highlight information helpful to Monsanto and other chemical producers.” Continue reading →