World Governments Manipulate Social Media to Impact Public Opinion
January 29, 2013
Capitalizing on recent marketing trends in the private sector, countries across the globe are utilizing bloggers as a tool for influencing public opinion. The article, “Vietnam Hires Bloggers to Influence Online Discussion,” from Techeye reveals that the Vietnamese government employs hundreds of bloggers to influence public perception of the regime both locally and globally.
The article states:
“[...] the Vietnamese government has hundreds of the bloggers on its pay roll, with at least 400 accounts spanning 20 different social media networks. The BBC says there is a noticeable number of bloggers on social media networks popular in the country, who mostly post positive comments and articles.”
This declaration comes just weeks after China was exposed for utilizing social media to achieve similar ends. Influencing opinions through social media is becoming common practice amongst many world governments. The article continues:
“The technique is not unique to Vietnam or China. In 2011, it emerged that the United States had been developing software to game popular social networks with fake profiles to influence conversations.”
The recent prominence in government-banked bloggers underscores the global pervasiveness of social media and mobile technology. The manipulation of social media networks has become standard practice for companies seeking to control their brand. It is interesting to see Vietnam’s Communist Party leveraging similar techniques to quell political dissent.
Michael Cole, January 29, 2013