Government Trolls Are Using "Psychology-Based Influence Techniques" On YouTube, Facebook And Twitter

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

Have you ever come across someone on the Internet that you suspected was a paid government troll?  Well, there is a very good chance that you were not imagining things.  Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have solid proof that paid government trolls are using “psychology-based influence techniques” on social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.  Documents leaked by Snowden also reveal that government agents have been conducting denial-of-service attacks, flooding social media websites with thinly veiled propaganda and have been purposely attempting to warp public discourse online.  If we do not stand up and object to this kind of Orwellian behavior, it is only going to get worse and worse.

In the UK, the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) is a specialized unit within the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).  If it wasn’t for Edward Snowden, we probably still would never have heard of them.  This particular specialized unit is engaged in some very “questionable” online activities.  The following is an excerpt from a recent piece by Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman

Though its existence was secret until last year, JTRIG quickly developed a distinctive profile in the public understanding, after documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the unit had engaged in “dirty tricks” like deploying sexual “honey traps” designed to discredit targets, launching denial-of-service attacks to shut down Internet chat rooms, pushing veiled propaganda onto social networks and generally warping discourse online.

We are told that JTRIG only uses these techniques to go after the “bad guys”.

But precisely who are the “bad guys”?

It turns out that their definition of who the “bad guys” are is quite broad.  Here is more from Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman

JTRIG’s domestic and law enforcement operations are made clear. The report states that the controversial unit “currently collaborates with other agencies” including the Metropolitan police, Security Service (MI5), Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Border Agency, Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and National Public Order and Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). The document highlights that key JTRIG objectives include “providing intelligence for judicial outcomes”; monitoring “domestic extremist groups such as the English Defence League by conducting online HUMINT”; “denying, deterring or dissuading” criminals and “hacktivists”; and “deterring, disrupting or degrading online consumerism of stolen data or child porn.”

Particularly disturbing to me is the phrase “domestic extremist groups”.  What does someone have to say or do to be considered an “extremist”?  For example, the English Defence League is a non-violent street protest movement in the UK that is strongly against the spread of radical Islam and sharia law in the UK.  So if they are “extremists”, how many millions upon millions of ordinary citizens in the United States would fit that definition?

When conducting operations against “extremists”, psychology-based influence techniques are among the tools that JTRIG uses to combat them online.  The following comes from one of the documents that was posted by Greenwald and Fishman…

Psychology-Based Influence Techniques

In other words, these government trolls try to mess with people’s minds.

And here is another document that was posted by Greenwald and Fishman that talks about how JTRIG uses YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to accomplish their goals…

Government Trolls

It is very disturbing to think that some of the people that we may be interacting with on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are actually paid government agents that are purposely trying to feed us propaganda and misinformation.

And of course this kind of thing does not just happen in the United Kingdom.  In Canada, it has been publicly admitted that the government uses paid trolls to warp Internet discourse.  The following comes from Natural News

You’ve probably run into them before — those seemingly random antagonizers who always end up diverting the conversation in an online chat room or article comment section away from the issue at hand, and towards a much different agenda. Hot-button issues like illegal immigration, the two-party political system, the “war on terror” and even alternative medicine are among the most common targets of such attackers, known as internet “trolls” or “shills,” who in many cases are nothing more than paid lackeys hired by the federal government and other international organizations to sway and ultimately control public opinion.


Several years ago, Canada’s CTV News aired a short segment about how its own government had been exposed for hiring secret agents to monitor social media and track online conversations, as well as the activities of certain dissenting individuals. This report, which in obvious whitewashing language referred to such activities as the government simply “weighing in and correcting” allegedly false information posted online, basically admitted that the Canadian government had assumed the role of secret online police.

You can actually watch a video news report about what is happening up in Canada right here.

Needless to say, the U.S. government is also engaged in this kind of activity as well.  For instance, the U.S. government has actually been caught manipulating discourse on Reddit and editing Wikipedia.  When it comes to spying, there is nobody that is off limits for our spooks.  It just came out recently that we even spied on three French presidents, and they are supposed to be our “friends”.

And just like the UK, the U.S. government has a very broad definition of “extremists”.  This has especially been true since Barack Obama has been in the White House.  If you doubt this, please see my previous article entitled “72 Types Of Americans That Are Considered ‘Potential Terrorists’ In Official Government Documents“.

All of this is very disturbing.  Why can’t they just leave us alone and let us talk to one another?  Why do they have to spy on everything that we do and purposely try to manipulate public discourse?  Why do they have to be such control freaks?

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junction's picture

Not surprising, more Big Brother news.

For another snapshot of how corrupt the United States is, look at the story of the recent history of colchicine, a thousand year old gout medication.  In 2010, the FDA granted URL Pharma three year exclusivity on the sale of its branded version of colchicines.   URL Pharma’s majority owner since 1997 was Elliott Associates L.P., a hedge fund run by Paul Singer.  The FDA based this exclusivity on a one week study URL did on 185 subjects in 2009, some of whom received a placebo.  That study was a scam, as the FDA well knew.  Once URL Pharma got its exclusivity based on smoke, mirrors and payoffs, it raised the cost of the colchicine from about a dime to $5.00.  The FDA threatened legal action against the other generic makers of colchicines, forcing them to stop selling their low cost versions of the drug. 

In 2012, Takeda Pharmaceuticals paid $800 million for URL Pharma, just to get control of its brand name of colchicines, Colcrys.  Also in 2012, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch received a campaign contributions of $38,750 from Elliott Management, the first time Paul Singer gave Hatch campaign money on the books.  Singer made another contribution of the same amount for the 2014 election cycle, making him one of Hatch’s top 20 donors.  Senator Hatch was co-sponsor of the Hatch-Waxman amendments that allowed the FDA to create the three year exclusivity program [racket] in 2006.

Having pocketed his massive profits on URL Pharma, thanks to buying off the government and Paul Singer went on his merry way, occasionally posting online his opinions on the world economic affairs at the Zero Hedge website.  For Takeda, the outlook is not so rosy.  West Ward, a former generic manufacturer of colchicine, is again selling its generic version of the drug.  Takeda filed suit in the Federal Circuit last year to block the sale, as did Elliott Associates LP.  The latest legal news: “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an order Jan. 9 [2015] that essentially allows West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp., an Eatontown, N.J.-based generic-drug manufacturer, to begin selling a new branded version of colchicine.”   

So, thanks to the corrupt FDA, bought and paid for, a gout medication went up in price from a dime to $5 a pill, patients using the drug were price gouged, Paul Singer made hundreds of millions of dollars and Takeda Pharmaceuticals got taken to the cleaners.

This story can be entitled “The American Way.”    


CaptainAmerika's picture
CaptainAmerika (not verified) junction Jul 2, 2015 8:28 PM
Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves
Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

This is old news. They are using AI / chatterbots to disseminate their propaganda in mass now. It's a very sophisticated network of fake accounts and aliases, which spans the Internet and much of it is automated. For BS issues the bots think and act randomly, but for real issues they are given their orders to act in a certain way and speak the talking points verbatim. Of course, this is just a conspiracy theory which will be proven correct sooner or later.

BurningFuld's picture

You should never depend on the government.

Just thought I would throw that out there.

Waylon Bits's picture
Waylon Bits (not verified) TruxtonSpangler Jul 2, 2015 11:19 PM

Don't douche-out on your own trolls.  Teh government they ain't the only ones.

the kings whore's picture

There are many government trolls all over the internet.  But what are they going to do?  I'm certainly not losing sleep over it.

UnpatrioticHoarder's picture

"providing intelligence for judicial outcomes"

So, compromising judges then...

IRC162's picture


[got a little overexcited there]

Pinto Currency's picture



Gov trolls surely present at ZH.

Waylon Bits's picture
Waylon Bits (not verified) Pinto Currency Jul 2, 2015 11:20 PM

Tehy are the ones talking shit about Bitcoin and Satoshi the Great.

zhandax's picture

You mean that idiot in Canada isn't getting paid?

silvermail's picture

Anyone who owns a gold - is an extremist.
Anyone who owns a gold and silver - it is a terrorist.

SWRichmond's picture

It is very disturbing to think that some of the people that we may be interacting with on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are actually paid government agents that are purposely trying to feed us propaganda and misinformation.

What's really disturbing is that they're using our money to do it.  We had a "volunteer" photographer in our tea Party group who was, I am almost certain, an FBI agent.  At any such meeting, one in three of the major participants is a paid informant.  Also paid with our money.

Son of Loki's picture

I thought I read Barry's pal Cass Sunstein admitted publicly he was in charge of the Brainwarsh/Propaganda Camaign?


He describes some of his techniques in his books.

r00t61's picture

The salient points of Cass Sunstein's "Cognitive Infiltration" program, described in a paper he wrote in 2008.

Crawdaddy's picture

Michael Snyder shows up so often - who pays this guy's bills? Is Mr Michael Snyder is a lone voice in the wilderness trying to steer us away from danger? Or is he a tool of the globalists and on their payroll?

Crawdaddy's picture

Ok I checked. I have wondered about him for a while. Snyder is most certainly a globalist mouthpiece douchecbag. He is Mr Collapse-O-Rama. One sided blamer seems to be his MO. His MO is to blame it on the west. The west that is turn being manipulated into doom by the bad guys (i.e. the west).

One day the world wil have had enough of the corruption and will turn to?  The Wise East! Controlled and managed by the same globalist douchbags. Hey Mr Rothschild! Fancy meeting you here.

Michael Snyder - caveat douchebaglio emptor.

Bay of Pigs's picture

Well, I remember all the good posters like you guys.....fuck all these trolls and assholes.

rbg81's picture

You know alll those stupid profile games on FB?  The ones that ask you 10-20 questions and then profile some aspect of your personality?  There are many examples, like "What decade fits you best?" or "What movie character are you?".  My $$ says that these are not mere games, but Government-backed data mining exercises to seperate the trouble-makers from the sheeple.

And, of course, who knows what evil lurks on ZH?

toady's picture

And, of course, who what evil lurks on ZH?

that was my first thought..... there are a few obvious topic changers "off topic, but" and "I make billions sucking Dick, you can too" stand out, but I think most here are just people expressing their views....

So they've managed my perceptions, how about yours?

TahoeBilly2012's picture

Whatever evil lurks on ZH, who fucking cares. It's the last place you speak your peice and why hide your identity? Is it worth living in the fucking shadows? 

I always said, my idea of a social network for Liberty minded people, where you actually state who are, where you live and what you think. Our only chance (and we have very little) would be for enough people to use it that there realized their were outnumbered and back off. This shit is NOT going to unwind, we are clearly headed for complete tyranny, may as well pipe up while you can.

daveO's picture

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  Thomas Jefferson


From Patrick Henry's "Liberty or Death" speech;

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

The gov. ALWAYS uses fear tactics. They may even kill a few, now and then, to bully us. Death is their main bargaining chip. 

Bay of Pigs's picture

Dont know if I ever told anyone here but Bob Dabolina gave me a phone number to call him once and it was the White House. He said he had seven different handles here at ZH too. They are all gone now.

I smell trolls in my sleep...

Abaco's picture

No need for conspiracy theories.  The bastards openly advertised the contracts on the fed contracting site

doctor10's picture

Meh...they can't even control the narrative about controlling the narrative.

Psquared's picture

It can deceive the weak minded or the weak willed.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

We've been playing Whack-a-Mole with these Moles/Trolls for years now on ZH.

Of course "Social Engineering" is a two-edged sword.  :-)

aVileRat's picture

Politicians used to suggest debate clubs were the best way to sharpen your tongue. Forum raids, ZOG nutjobs and sockpuppet accounts will train an entire generation in critical thinking that would have made Churchill moist.


Freddie's picture

Takeda makes the new generation sleep drug Rozerm.  It is overpriced junk.  There is generic anti depressant drug that is far more effective for sleep and very safe and mild. .

Jorgen's picture

"There is generic anti depressant drug that is far more effective for sleep and very safe and mild"

Yes, and it is called marijuana.

OldPhart's picture

I've found that Melatonin knocks my ass out pretty quick.  200 tabs is pretty cheap.  No prescription needed.  And that drug your talking about is from the 60's...known as Valium.

shovelhead's picture

There's a better one than that and it's free if you put it in your garden.

It's called Cannabis Sativa sub. Indica. Good for many other ailments as well as a superior relaxant.

Bad for Twinkies.

Karaio's picture

Ha, Ha, Ha!

Trolls in ZeroHedge?

Yes, there are many!

I am Brazilian, I know Argentines, Indians, Spaniards, Russians etc. just the way of writing.

Against us, people who see the Empire out, there's no call "troll".

Trolls are subtle like a pachyderm in that space or a monkey in china shop.

Anyone with half a brain who can comment here identifies trolls.


Karaio's picture

Another thing:

Trolls walk on herd, five or six one supporting the other by entering "+" in stupid comments that do not relate to the text.


Ginsengbull's picture

Not necessarily Karaio.


Some have 5 or 6 different names and avatars, and just by using different e-mail accounts, can clone themselves into a virtual army of trolls.


You can identify them by sentence structure, syntax, and times of day they post, if not from the lockstep agreement of their political and social views.

TheReplacement's picture

Uno commentor.  Bot (many) voters and agreers.


Edit:  "commentor", really?

discopimp's picture

I'm just a little government bot, 

paid with cash from a never ending pot,

I hope one day when I do grow, to see the blank faces I helped sow,

and help big pharma take all your dough!

ted41776's picture

disqus is 99.999999999% paid government trolls

TheReplacement's picture

Join me there and make it 99.999999998%

ThirdWorldDude's picture

Make that 99.999999997%.

Easiest way to recognize a tool on disqus is to check their profile page. Most trolls keep their profile pages private.

Shad_ow's picture

Depends on the site which engages through disqus.  I know conservatives call them out and put them in their place quickly on the sites I read.


daveO's picture

Newsbusters(used to be CNS, I think) gets hit alot by govtrolls. So does Breitbart(yea the one who died after saying he had damaging info on the sock puppet). I'm really surprised it's still around. I'm guessing it's been taken over by 'them'.

dimwitted economist's picture

i thought hope and change (we could believe in) would change all this...