Story of a shill

Home The Candida Forum Candida Questions Story of a shill

This topic contains 42 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  anna 5 years, 2 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 43 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #115790

    impossible
    Member
    Topics: 16
    Replies: 606

    A random internet read:

    “I am writing here to come out of the closet as a paid shill. For a little over six months, I was paid to spread disinformation and argue political points on the Internet. This site, ATS, was NOT one that I was assigned to post on, although other people in the same organization were paid to be here, and I assume they still walk among you. But more on this later.

    I quit this job in the latter part of 2011, because I became disgusted with it, and with myself. I realized I couldn’t look myself in the mirror anymore. If this confession triggers some kind of retribution against me, so be it. Part of being a real man in this world is having real values that you stand up for, no matter what the consequences.

    My story begins in early 2011. I had been out of work for almost a year after losing my last job in tech support. Increasingly desperate and despondent, I jumped at the chance when a former co-worker called me up and said she had a possible lead for me. “It is an unusual job, and one that requires secrecy. But the pay is good. And I know you are a good writer, so its something you are suited for.” (Writing has always been a hobby for me).

    She gave me only a phone-number and an address, in one of the seedier parts of San Francisco, where I live. intrigued, I asked her for the company’s URL and some more info. She laughed. “They don’t have a website. Or even a name. You’ll see. Just tell them I referred you.” Yes, it sounded suspicious, but long-term joblessness breeds desperation, and desperation has a funny way of overlooking the suspicious when it comes to putting food on the table.

    The next day, I arrived at the address – the third floor in a crumbling building. The appearance of the place did not inspire confidence. After walking down a long, filthy linoleum-covered corridor lit by dimly-flickering halogen, I came to the entrance of the office itself: a crudely battered metal door with a sign that said “United Amalgamated Industries, Inc.”

    I later learned that this “company” changed its name almost monthly, always using bland names like that which gave no strong impression of what the company actually does. Not too hopeful, I went inside. The interior was equally shabby. There were a few long tables with folding chairs, at which about a dozen people were tapping away on old, beat-up computers. There were no decorations or ornaments of any type: not even the standard-issue office fica trees or plastic ferns. What a dump. Well, beggars can’t be choosers.

    The manager, a balding man in his late forties, rose from the only stand-alone desk in the room and came forward with an easy smile. “You must be Chris. Yvette [my ex-co-worker] told me you’d be coming.” [Not our real names]. “Welcome. Let me tell you a little about what we do.” No interview, nothing. I later learned they took people based solely on referral, and that the people making the referrals, like my ex-colleague Yvette, were trained to pick out candidates based on several factors including ability to keep one’s mouth shut, basic writing skills, and desperation for work.

    We sat down at his desk and he began by asking me a few questions about myself and my background, including my political views (which were basically non-existent). Then he began to explain the job. “We work on influencing people’s opinions here,” is how he described it. The company’s clients paid them to post on Internet message boards and popular chartrooms, as well as in gaming forums and social networks like Facebook and MySpace. Who were these clients? “Oh, various people,” he said vaguely. “Sometimes private companies, sometimes political groups.”

    Satisfied that my political views were not strong, he said I would be assigned to political work. “The best people for this type of job are people like you, without strong views,” he said with a laugh. “It might seem counterintuitive, but actually we’ve found that to be the case.” Well, OK. Fine. As long as it comes with a steady paycheck, I’d believe whatever they wanted me to believe, as the guy in Ghostbusters said.

    After discussing pay (which was much better than I’d hoped) and a few other details, he then went over the need for absolute privacy and secrecy. “You can’t tell anyone what we do here. Not your wife, not your dog.” (I have neither, as it happens.) “We’ll give you a cover story and even a phone number and a fake website you can use. You will have to tell people you are a consultant. Since your background is in tech support, that will be your cover job. Is this going to be a problem for you?” I assured him it would not. “Well, OK. Shall we get started?”

    “Right now?” I asked, a bit taken aback.

    “No time like the present!” he said with a hearty laugh.

    The rest of the day was taken up with training. Another staff member, a no-nonsense woman in her thirties, was to be my trainer, and training would only last two days. “You seem like a bright guy, you’ll get the hang of it pretty fast, I think,” she said. And indeed, the job was easier than I’d imagined. My task was simple: I would be assigned to four different websites, with the goal of entering certain discussions and promoting a certain view. I learned later that some of the personnel were assigned to internet message boards (like me), while others worked on Facebook or chatrooms. It seems these three types of media each have different strategy for shilling, and each shill concentrates on one of the three in particular.

    My task? “To support Israel and counter anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic posters.” Fine with me. I had no opinions one way or another about Israel, and who likes anti-Semites and Nazis? Not me, anyway. But I didn’t know too much about the topic. “That’s OK,” she said. “You’ll pick it up as you go along. For the most part, at first, you will be doing what we call “meme-patrol.” This is pretty easy. Later if you show promise, we’ll train you for more complex arguments, where more in-depth knowledge is necessary.”

    She handed me two binders with sheets enclosed in limp plastic. The first was labeled simply “Israel” in magic-marker on the cover, and it had two sections .The first section contained basic background info on the topic. I would have to read and memorize some of this, as time went on. It had internet links for further reading, essays and talking points, and excerpts from some history books. The second, and larger, section was called “Strat” (short for “strategy”) with long lists of “dialogue pairs.” These were specific responses to specific postings.

    If a poster wrote something close to “X,” we were supposed to respond with something close to “Y.” “You have to mix it up a bit, though,” said my trainer. “Otherwise it gets too obvious. Learn to use a thesaurus.” This section also contained a number of hints for de-railing conversations that went too far away from what we were attempting. These strategies included various forms of personal attacks, complaining to the forum moderators, smearing the characters of our opponents, using images and icons effectively, and even dragging the tone of the conversation down with sexual innuendo, links to pornography, or other such things. “Sometimes we have to fight dirty,” or trainer told us. “Our opponents don’t hesitate to, so we can’t either.”

    The second binder was smaller, and it contained information specific to the web sites I would be assigned to. The sites I would work were: Godlike Productions, Lunatic Outpost, CNN news, Yahoo News, and a handful of smaller sites that rotated depending on need. As stated, I was NOT assigned to work ATS (although others in my group were), which is part of the reason I am posting this here, rather than elsewhere. I wanted to post this on Godlike Productions at first, but they have banned me from even viewing that site for some reason (perhaps they are onto me?). But if somebody connected with this site can get the message to them, I think they should know about it, because that was the site I spent a good 70% of my time working on.

    The site-specific info in the second binder included a brief history each site, including recent flame-wars, as well as info on what to avoid on each site so as not to get banned. It also had quite detailed info on the moderators and the most popular regged posters on each site: location (if known), personality type, topics of interest, background sketch, and even some notes on how to “push the psychological buttons” of different posters. Although I didn’t work for ATS, I did see they had a lot of info on your so-called “WATS” posters here (the ones with gold borders around their edges). “Focus on the popular posters,” my trainer told me. “These are the influential ones. Each of these is worth 50 to 100 of the lesser known names.”

    Each popular poster was classified as “hostile,” “friendly,” or “indifferent” to my goal. We were supposed to cultivate friendship with the friendly posters as well as the mods (basically, by brownnosing and sucking up), and there were even notes on strategies for dealing with specific hostile posters. The info was pretty detailed, but not perfect in every case. “If you can convert one of the hostile posters from the enemy side to our side, you get a nice bonus. But this doesn’t happen too often, sadly. So mostly you’ll be attacking them and trying to smear them.”

    At first, like I said, my job was “meme-patrol.” This was pretty simple and repetitive; it involved countering memes and introducing new memes, and didn’t demand much in-depth knowledge of the subject. Mostly just repetitive posting based on the dialogue pairs in the “Strat” section of the first binder. A lot of my job was de-railing and spamming threads that didn’t go our way, or making accusations of racism and anti-Semitism. Sometimes I had to simply lie and claim a poster said something or did something “in another thread” they really hadn’t said or done I felt bad about this…but in the end I felt worse about the possibility of losing the first job I’d been able to get since losing my “real” job.

    The funny thing was, although I started the job with no strong opinions or political views, after a few weeks of this I became very emotionally wedded to the pro-Israel ideas I was pushing. There must be some psychological factor at work…a good salesman learns to honestly love the products he’s selling, I guess. It wasn’t long before my responses became fiery and passionate, and I began to learn more about the topic on my own. “This is a good sign,” my trainer told me. “It means you are ready for the next step: complex debate.”

    The “complex debate” part of the job involved a fair amount of additional training, including memorizing more specific information about the specific posters (friendly and hostile) I’d be sparring with. Here, too, there were scripts and suggested lines of argument, but we were given more freedom. There were a lot of details to this more advanced stage of the job – everything from how to select the right avatar to how to use “demotivationals” (humorous images with black borders that one finds floating around the web). Even the proper use of images of cats was discussed. Sometimes we used faked or photo-shopped images or doctored news reports (something else that bothered me).

    I was also given the job of tying to find new recruits, people “like me” who had the personality type, ability to keep a secret, basic writing/thinking skills, and desperation necessary to sign on a shill. I was less successful at this part of the job, though, and I couldn’t find another in the time I was there.

    After a while of doing this, I started to feel bad. Not because of the views I was pushing (as I said, I was first apolitical, then pro-Israel), but because of the dishonesty involved. If my arguments were so correct, I wondered, why did we have to do this in the first place? Shouldn’t truth propagate itself naturally, rather than through, well…propaganda? And who was behind this whole operation, anyway? Who was signing my paychecks? The stress of lying to my parents and friends about being a “consultant” was also getting to me. Finally, I said enough was enough. I quit in September 2011. Since then I’ve been working a series of unglamorous temp office jobs for lower pay. But at least I’m not making my living lying and heckling people who come online to express their views and exercise freedom of speech.

    A few days ago I happened to be in the same neighborhood and on a whim thought I’d check out the old office. It turns out the operation is gone, having moved on. This, too, I understood, is part of their strategy: Don’t stay in the same place for too long, don’t keep the same name too long, move on after half a year or so. Keeping a low profile, finding new employees through word of mouth: All this is part of the shill way of life. But it is a deceptive way of life, and no matter how noble the goals (I remain pro-Israel, by the way), these sleazy means cannot be justified by the end.

    This is my confession. I haven’t made up my mind yet about whether I want to talk more about this, so if I don’t respond to this thread, don’t be angry. But I think you should know: Shills exist. They are real. They walk among you, and they pay special attention to your popular gold-bordered WATS posters. You should be aware of this. What you choose to do with this awareness is up to you.

    Yours,

    ExShill”

    -any of this look familiar?

    #115794

    ThomasJoel2
    Participant
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 375

    impossible, ever since you pointed out the existence of shills I see them everywhere now. Not just in health discussions, but political discussions as well. There’s a certain style to their writing that makes picking them out somewhat easy once you know what to look for. The level of deception they go to though, as described in this story, is both remarkable and frightening. I wasn’t aware how secretive these organizations were nor the fact that a single organization would be devoted to more than one type of discussion (both political and health forums).

    In my opinion, Floggi is the perfect example of the online shill and everyone who wants to avoid being deceived should study some of his posts.

    Just now I was going through Able’s posts in the “Report if you are cured, please” thread and immediately noticed his posting style as being similar to Floggi’s. I’m not sure how aware you are of this forum’s history impossible, but Able is pretty much responsible for perpetuating the “You can get cured by diet/probiotics alone” myth that is still pretty popular on this forum. He was also strongly against the idea that candida can be cured via mercury chelation despite the anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Because of this, I strongly suspect Able to have been a type of shill.

    He spread a lot of good advice and information in regards to fine-tuning and perfecting your diet, but at the same time propagated the idea that “candida” or “die-off” is responsible for all of your symptoms and rejected the idea that diet/probiotics couldn’t cure the problem. This makes me think of Able as a “controlled opposition” leader who spreads a lot of good information, but ultimately leads you nowhere. Further evidence for Able’s lack of genuine interest can be seen in the fact that he now promotes his own supplements for personal gain.

    Here’s a thread from another site that describes “controlled opposition” so people can understand what I’m talking about: http://orbisvitae.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=55880#Post55880

    I think I’m gonna make a thread on that subject specifically once this one runs its course.

    #115796

    impossible
    Member
    Topics: 16
    Replies: 606

    Think a little farther than that even.

    ” Twenty six pharmaceutical companies banded together, originally, and funded the operation against market competitors to drugs. The first plan has been expanded as big pharma panics over North America’s shift in their buying habits to “alternatives.”

    What would be a low key underhanded way to do that on a forum like this?

    #115799

    ThomasJoel2
    Participant
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 375

    impossible;54317 wrote: Think a little farther than that even.

    ” Twenty six pharmaceutical companies banded together, originally, and funded the operation against market competitors to drugs. The first plan has been expanded as big pharma panics over North America’s shift in their buying habits to “alternatives.”

    What would be a low key underhanded way to do that on a forum like this?

    I don’t think I’m following you here.

    #115800

    impossible
    Member
    Topics: 16
    Replies: 606
    #115801

    impossible
    Member
    Topics: 16
    Replies: 606

    I dont know about able, but at this point nothing surprises me.

    #115820

    approximately_me
    Member
    Topics: 28
    Replies: 186

    Can you link this impossible?

    I’m not sure about Able either. He always seemed to me an exceptionally compassionate person. I’m a little surprised how quickly some people around here turned on him when he was booted. He helped a lot of people, including me.

    #115826

    Vegan Catlady
    Member
    Topics: 34
    Replies: 626

    If Able was touting a natural cure of diet and probiotics, doesnt this show his motivation is helping you to help yourself, rather than pointing you in the direction of medicine?

    Im not sure im following this proper, and I really want to because I dont have the money to screw-up, and Im responsible to children and elderly so I cant afford to be sick 🙁

    Im so new, I didnt realize he was booted.
    What happened?

    #115827

    Vegan Catlady
    Member
    Topics: 34
    Replies: 626

    ThomasJoel2;54315 wrote: impossible, ever since you pointed out the existence of shills I see them everywhere now. Not just in health discussions, but political discussions as well. There’s a certain style to their writing that makes picking them out somewhat easy once you know what to look for. The level of deception they go to though, as described in this story, is both remarkable and frightening. I wasn’t aware how secretive these organizations were nor the fact that a single organization would be devoted to more than one type of discussion (both political and health forums).

    I think I’m gonna make a thread on that subject specifically once this one runs its course.

    You should see the hell I went through with the shills on youtube, promoting milk!!!

    The same guy had 4 different names (most likely more, but 4 that were obvious because he never went so far as to change his wording…at all…) and he would follow me and about 100 other people around youtube saying he was a doctor, and that there no other sources of calcium on the planet and we are the cause of new mothers taking advice that will kill their children,lol. “Babies require cows milk or they will die.”
    Because we shared vids that showed the nutritional profile of veggies.
    How freaking bizarre is that?

    They truly are everywhere.
    I used to be on Godlike Productions and the shills (plural) were overwhelming.
    They make you want to leave.

    #115833

    impossible
    Member
    Topics: 16
    Replies: 606

    Vegan Catlady;54347 wrote:

    Im not sure im following this proper, and I really want to because I dont have the money to screw-up, and Im responsible to children and elderly so I cant afford to be sick 🙁

    Why do you feel the need to explain your motivations so often?

    #115836

    ThomasJoel2
    Participant
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 375

    approximately_me;54341 wrote: Can you link this impossible?

    I’m not sure about Able either. He always seemed to me an exceptionally compassionate person. I’m a little surprised how quickly some people around here turned on him when he was booted. He helped a lot of people, including me.

    I don’t mean to discount all the information and advice Able gave us. I certainly owe a lot to him when it comes to forming my diet. If you go through his posts though and read what he has to say about mercury poisoning he’s constantly arguing against the importance of the issue. Him and dvjorge used to argue constantly about this topic. For such an intelligent man Able was incredible ignorant on this important matter. He even advocated chelation with amalgams present in your mouth. That doesn’t sound like someone who has your best interest at heart. Anyone who knows what they’re talking about when it comes to amalgams and mercury toxicity knows that Able is giving incredibly dangerous advice.

    Here are some quotes from Able:

    Again, I’m not claiming that mercury is not a problem; nor am I claiming that mercury cannot leach from amalgams. What I am saying is that having the amalgams physically removed is an unnecessarily and costly procedure because of various factors which I’ve already explained … several times I believe.

    I am not saying that mercury isn’t a problem; nor have I stated that chelation therapy to remove toxins can present a problem; in fact, the opposite is true since I have advocated this as proven in the message I wrote which you just posted. But chelation therapy and having amalgams physically removed are two entirely different things.
    What I’ve done is to post research studies which state that having amalgams physically removed from one’s mouth in order to rid the body of mercury is completely unnecessary as well as it being a scam practiced by charlatans and at times unauthorized persons (i.e. Huggins). If you read all of my posts under this subject very carefully, maybe you’ll get it.

    When asked “Do you have books about chelation such as “Amalgam Illness” by Andy Cutler ?” he responded:

    Do you have the book, “Health Schemes, Scams and Frauds” published by Consumer Reports, 1990?

    When asked: “Did you know that chelation is a serious business that if done improperly can cause irreversible damage to your health ??” he responded:

    Did you know that scamming the public is a serious business which cost the general public over $275 billion a year?

    When asked “How a person can chelate mercury with amalgams in her/his mouth ?” he resopnded:

    The act of chelating includes removing toxins from the body; the definition doesn’t singularly stipulate invasive procedures for the purpose of removing amalgams from one’s mouth.

    Here is what Able had to say about Hall Huggins who helped get the word out regarding the mercury toxicity issue:

    The originator of the amalgam scam was Hal Huggins (D.D.S). For a period of 22 years, Huggins limited his practice to diagnosing and treating his patients of what he claimed were mercury toxicity problems stemming from amalgams.

    During an official hearing, the Colorado State Board of Dental Examiners listened to and examined twelve days worth of statements containing complaints brought against Hal Huggins by his patients. Huggins subsequently had his license revoked the same year.

    Of course there’s no possibility that his license being revoked was for political reasons, right?…

    Able even links to quackwatch in one of his posts in a thread regarding mercury fillings:

    From a quick Google search.

    How Anti-Amalgamists Swindle People
    http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/mercury.html

    The Mercury Amalgam Scam
    http://acsh.org/1991/10/toxic-television-the-mercury-amalgam-scam/

    Quote:
    “Amalgam restorations remain safe and effective. Dentists should educate patients and
    other health care professionals who may be mistakenly concerned about amalgam safety.”
    Published by the American Dental Association
    http://jada-plus.com/content/132/3/348.short

    An amalgam (mercury filling) consists of the following:

    50% Mercury
    35% Silver
    14% Tin
    0.1% Zink
    0.3% Copper

    Looking at the breakdown above, if mercury actually leaches from a filling, after a 10-year period the filling would logically be 1/2 of its original size or less. Has anyone ever experienced the filling actually disappearing?

    impossible, I know you are well versed when it comes to mercury issues. Still have doubts about him being a shill?

    #115838

    Vegan Catlady
    Member
    Topics: 34
    Replies: 626

    impossible;54354 wrote:

    Im not sure im following this proper, and I really want to because I dont have the money to screw-up, and Im responsible to children and elderly so I cant afford to be sick 🙁

    Why do you feel the need to explain your motivations so often?

    Mostly because I am new and and not knowing where everyone is coming from causes more misinterpretation than it does to just over-state stuff plainly.

    Its who I am.

    Also, I like that people who question my motives at anytime can find evidence of them in every post. I am very used to people questioning my motives on youtube when I repost a vegan video for my friends and they,as strangers, feel some stupid need to communicate that they dislike my choices (which I am not pushing on others,btw.)

    If it bothers you, dont read my posts.

    #115853

    impossible
    Member
    Topics: 16
    Replies: 606

    LMAO found another one. Its absolutely incredible, stuff like this really opens your eyes to the reality of the world we live in, just how messed up things are, and how far people like this are willing to go. A link to the page I copied this from is at the end of the thread, they go into the rest of the story and divulge on some interesting details.


    A Forum Shill gets busted. Something very interesting happened over at GLP March 24th at 9:28 pm. Something that did not go unnoticed by GLP posters and many others around the interwebz. On page 7 of a thread titled “Medical Type Says Sandy Hook is Total BS”, a user from “Kazakhstan” posted the following:

    Re: Medical Type Says Sandy Hook is Total Bullshit

    [0x1a970000, 0x1ab00000, 0x27570000>
    [rdpclip.exe, iostatZd15.1]

    you copied a large amount of data onto the clipboard …Do you want to save this data on the clipboard?

    User ID: 35850666 Korea
    User ID: 36689081 Korea
    User ID: 33951304 Kazak
    User ID: 36809983 Kazak

    N.C.S. logo.jpg

    //SECRET
    C:SharePoint012USNCSSAD_Wrkc9inet-N-7339.tx​t
    **********************************
    REMINDERS —— NOTES
    **********************************
    Sensitivity Level

    Action Code

    Team 5.A/
    SITE
    Location of official Agency folder
    None NPRC
    Team Contact
    Sheila N******

    CHECKLIST

    Do any of the respondents display the urge to supply information that could be helpful to your mission?

    Do the respondents appear hostile to your attempts to steer the discussion?

    Have you made a personal chart taking care to note who appear to be the “leaders” versus who appear to be the “followers”?

    Have you attempted to gauge the “temperature” of the forum’s users?

    In other words, the prevailing social psychology of the forum’s members?

    Have you been more successful with one or the other XStart methods that were demonstrated in N-7015A.DOC?

    Have more technical members (Computer Programmers, Administrators, or Moderators) of the forum deduced or accused you of hiding behind a proxy?

    Would you gain more trust and/or credibility if you were to use one of the Agency’s allotted “HOME” pools? (most often needed when handling EVTS that are more sensitive to the pop. of a specific locale but also location centered web sites such as FB or Patch)

    Has your PREDEV “persona” been successful or do you gauge that the users find you to be too obtrusive? Accusations of being “ever present” are.

    Quote by member: Our “korean” friend is probably part of the Sandy Hoax team. I’m guessing he is one of the many Israeli firsters we have seen so many of in SH. But he is not really helping his employer that much. His presence and views in different topics works as a litmus test telling if the OP is on to something or not.I bet one million shekels that he wouldn’t show up in a thread about Lt Vance shapeshifting…But he’s probably a nice guy doing what he thinks is the right thing.
    – See more at: http://www.insanemedia.net/forum-shill-gets-busted-ats-and-glp-censor-n-7015a/2924#sthash.dD6RWCkK.dpuf

    http://www.insanemedia.net/forum-shill-gets-busted-ats-and-glp-censor-n-7015a/2924

    #115882

    ThomasJoel2
    Participant
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 375

    Very interesting stuff! There’s no doubt modern propaganda techniques have come a long way. I hadn’t ever looked into Sandy Hook, but I’m sure I will now. To me though, the most important question is: what agenda does an event like Sandy Hook serve? The answer to that is pretty obvious I think: to further impose gun restrictions and regulations with the eventual goal of disarming all Americans.

    #115888

    impossible
    Member
    Topics: 16
    Replies: 606

    ThomasJoel2;54403 wrote: Very interesting stuff! There’s no doubt modern propaganda techniques have come a long way. I hadn’t ever looked into Sandy Hook, but I’m sure I will now. To me though, the most important question is: what agenda does an event like Sandy Hook serve? The answer to that is pretty obvious I think: to further impose gun restrictions and regulations with the eventual goal of disarming all Americans.

    I kinda figured people were going pretty far calling Sandy Hook a false flag but after reading that im going to see what they have to say. At the very least, almost all, if not all, of the shooters in these incidents are on drugs like ssri’s and stuff. Those drugs can really mess some people up.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 43 total)

The topic ‘Story of a shill’ is closed to new replies.