This is alarmingly common behavior, and a sign of things to come. I believe it was started by right wing supporters of the Israeli government (JIDF), who even created a full Hasbra Manual to manipulate comments on social media. http://www.middle-east-info.org/take/wujshasbara.pdf It is pretty well known that the USA also has massive legions of astroturf sock puppet brigades, usually to support the military-industrial complex, Big Oil, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other corporations. For instance HBGary: “creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated “persona management” software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.” http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/16/945768/-UPDATED-The-HB-Gary-Email-That-Should-Concern-Us-All
http://boingboing.net/2011/02/18/hbgarys-high-volume.html You can test this yourself as well on the next big story that involves some revelation about big oil, the US military (or contractors), etc. No matter what you feel about any of these things, just try criticizing them on a hot thread or forum discussion sometime, and watch how you get swarmed. I’ve been hit by a dozen comments virtually all saying the same thing before. After a while, you start to recognize the patterns of sock puppetry. There is also the secret COINTELPRO Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum. Very insightful instructions exposed at:
Either way, this is a sign of things to come. Social Media is turning into a propaganda tool by big corporations and authoritarian governments alike.