Astroturfing

Char Stiles / Pittsburgh, USA — Mrz 13, 2017

Akademie Schloss Solitude - Astroturfing

Concept text:

Astroturfing is a generative web art piece that lives on CharStiles.com/astroturf.html

This past election has forced us to think about how powerful social media is, more importantly how fragile it is. There is indisputable evidence of an army of workers who beefed up support of @RealDonaldTrump via meme posting bots, convincing fake social media accounts, and other programmatic or systemic advocacy. Though this seems like it is a new tool for campaigners, it has been around for a very long time in other authoritarian governments.

Astroturfing is defined as ‘…the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by a grassroots participant(s).’ The largest exporter of online astroturfing is the Chinese Government’s 50 Cent Army (五毛党). There are millions of posts made by low paid workers to persuade the public’s opinion in favor for the government. This piece propagates a digital field with the questions in posts made by these workers. They are very subtle in their work, and a question is enough to make one wonder.

 

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