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Socking it to Whom?
Use of Sock Puppets Questions America’s Moral Value!

It is well known that Facebook and Twitter have been major tools in coordinating the civil society’s response in various uprisings across the world in recent times, the most recent one being Egypt. What would you then call a democracy that deliberately and unfairly attempts to manipulate public opinion to its advantage by controlling access to such sites; or by controlling the sites themselves? Not much of a democracy anymore, right?

The country in question is US, again! Apparently, the American military has now developed sock puppets that will not only manipulate social networking sites (through fake profiles) but will also zealously spread pro-American propaganda. This is quite similar to Chinese censorship of social networking. Ironically, while on one hand, the US criticises Chinese moves to manipulate media, on the other, it is following suit. These sock puppets will be able to influence and manipulate online discussions without being caught or suspected as fake profiles. These sock puppets can not only converse in English, but will also maintain profiles in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu and thus also manipulate & control conversations in these local languages. The program is supposed to make the US treasury lighter by $2.7 million. With sock puppets having capacity of talking in many middle-eastern languages, the intentions of Americans are quite evident and the targets can also easily be pointed out.

Of course, the official response is that this is a move only against supporters of al-Qaeda or perpetrators of other anti-US activities. The unofficial corollary is that from Wikipedia to Facebook, from Twitter to MySpace, from LinkedIn to Baidu, expect shameless eulogies of the American way of living in the next few months. And yes, also expect that both Assange and Wikileaks are pilloried in ways never before seen. Way to go America, the land of free speech.

By:- Sray Agarwal

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