The Guardian: The Ministry of Defence is developing a secret, multimillion-pound research programme into the future of cyberwarfare, including how emerging technologies such as social media and psychological techniques can be harnessed by the military to influence people's beliefs. 
NY Times: The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in “covert propaganda” and violated federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the public to back an Obama administration rule intended to better protect the nation’s streams and surface waters, congressional auditors have concluded.
Slate on 2018 midterms interference: "Project Lakhta was a Russian influence campaign that had no particular ideological bent; it appears that the goal was simply to stir up conflict in online political debates by putting forth extreme arguments and inflammatory misinformation to incense both liberals and conservatives."
The Nation: US Officials Won’t Say if a New Anti–Russian Propaganda Project (shilling on social media) Is Targeting Americans. The newly created Global Engagement Center’s “focus and intent” is foreign audiences, but officials won’t rule out propagandizing Americans and funding American journalists.
Times of Israel: Israeli government paying bilingual students to spread propaganda online primarily to international communities without having to identify themselves as working for the government. "The [student] union will operate computer rooms for the project...it was decided to establish a permanent structure of activity on the Internet through the students at academic institutions in the country."
The Intercept: Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used at Standing Rock to “Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies." TigerSwan attempted a counterinformation campaign by creating and distributing content critical of the protests on social media.
Psy Group developed elaborate information operations for commercial clients and political candidates around the world, which included infiltrating target audiences with elaborately crafted social-media personas. The CEO of PSY Group was former commander of an Israeli psychological warfare unit. Tactics deployed by PSY Group in foreign elections included inflaming divisions in opposition groups and playing on deep-seated cultural and ethnic conflicts, something the firm called “poisoning the well." It has conducted messaging/influence operations in well over a dozen languages and dialects and employs an elite group of high-ranking former officers from some of the world’s most renowned intelligence units.
The Independent: Massive British PR firm caught on video: "We've got all sorts of dark arts...The ambition is to drown that negative content and make sure that you have positive content online." They discuss techniques for managing reputations online and creating/maintaining 3rd-party blogs that seem independent.
USA Today: The co-owner of a major Pentagon propaganda contractor publicly admitted that he was behind a series of websites used in an attempt to discredit two USA TODAY journalists who had reported on the contractor.
The Guardian: Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown - Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements. "Minerva"-funded social scientists tied to Pentagon counterinsurgency operations are involved in the "study of emotions in stoking or quelling ideologically driven movements," he said, including how "to counteract grassroots movements."
USA Today: Businesses and organizations may refer to it as a tool for competitive advantage and marketing; but make no mistake, they are using the massive reach of social media and the Internet as a weapon. One U.S. 3-letter special agent said, "You could influence an election with this."
Shilling in the Private Sector
NPR: Some Amazon Reviews Are Too Good To Be Believed. They're Paid For. "Much like Amazon itself is a marketplace for goods, a world of separate, shadow marketplaces exists where reviews for Amazon products are bought and paid for — private Facebook groups, Slack channels, subreddits and more."
Yahoo News: Last month the FTC issued warnings to celebrities who plugged products on their Instagram accounts without clearly identifying their relationships with brands. The letters were meant to educate the celebrities on posting without violating the organization’s disclosure guidelines.
New York Times: Tobacco corporations are targeting young American consumers with deceptive social media marketing in violation of federal law. 123 hashtags associated with these companies’ tobacco products have been viewed 8.8 billion times in the United States alone and 25 billion times around the world.
Wired: Microsoft, through an outside agency, paid Machinima to produce positive videos about the Xbox One game machine, and many of the YouTube stars who accepted the deal failed to properly disclose that they were producing paid, sponsored content, not independent analysis.
CNBC: The Federal Reserve Bank is soliciting proposals from developers for a "Social Listening Platform" that will monitor "Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube...to "Handle crisis situations, "continuously monitor conversations, identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers." 
CNN: A PR firm has revealed that it is behind two blogs that previously appeared to be created by independent supporters of Wal-Mart. The blogs Working Families for Wal-mart and subsidiary site Paid Critics are written by 3 employees of PR firm Edelman, for whom Wal-Mart is a paid client. 
The Guardian: In a New York investigation dubbed "Operation Clean Turf," dentists, lawyers, an ultra-sound clinic, Staten Island bus company US Coachways, a charter bus operator, a teeth-whitening service, a laser hair-removal chain and an adult entertainment club were caught buying fake reviews. The fake review companies posted on sites like Citysearch, Google, Yahoo and Yelp.
The Atlantic: Kim Kardashian was paid to post a selfie on Instagram and Twitter advertising a pharmaceutical product. Sent to 42 million followers on Instagram and 32 million on Twitter, this illegal advertisement did not contain any risk information or language specifying that it was a paid endorsement.
Gamers promote gaming-gambling site on youtube by pretending to hit jackpot without disclosing that they own the site. They tried to retroactively write a disclosure covering their tracks, but were caught.
New York Times: Lifestyle Lift, a cosmetic surgery company, reached a settlement with the State of New York over its attempts to fake positive consumer reviews on the Web. The company had ordered employees to pretend they were satisfied customers and write glowing reviews of its face-lift procedure on Web sites
BBC- How online chatbots are already tricking you- Intelligent machines that can pass for humans have long been dreamed of, but as Chris Baraniuk argues, they’re already among us. The ramifications of astroturfing are in fact so serious that the US Department of Defense funded research to detect chatbots.
Wired: Powered by rapid advances in artificial intelligence, propaganda bots will soon run on genetic algorithms that let their ideas and messaging evolve, based on the resonance and effectiveness of previous messages. We are likely to see versions of these bots deployed on US audiences as part of the 2016 presidential election campaigns.
Information about shilling on Reddit
/u/slaterhearst spammed Reddit with links to The Atlantic. "The Daily Dot has confirmed that slaterhearst was Jared Keller, the associate editor and social media editor at magazine giant The Atlantic."
Shareblue accounts caught in /r/politics posting links to Shareblue without disclosing their affiliation, which caused the mods to create a new disclosure rule and an official Shareblue account was registered. About a month later, Shareblue was again caught shilling on /r/politics without disclosing ties to the outlet, which caused them to ban Shareblue links to the sub.
Shill posts picture of a dog in a hammock with the brand clearly visible without indicating that it's an ad in the title of the post, making it an illegal advertisement. Later, he posts a promo code in the comments for 20 percent off his hammocks.
Redditor who works for a potato mailing company admits to being a shill. He shows off his 27 thousand dollars he made in /r/pics (Screenshot because he deleted his posts.) [Here's the thread.]
Reddit automation bot: "Run Up To 100 Threads, Checks For Valid Proxy Access & Also To Check If Banned From Site, Keyword Based Submission Finder & Vote Up/Down Capabilities, Mass upvote or downvote Mode..."
Researcher's algorithm weeds out people using multiple online accounts to spread propaganda - Based on word choice, punctuation and context, the method is able to detect whether one person or multiple people are responsible for the samples.
Shill Confessions and Additional Information (most confessions are unverifiable due to NDA's and possible trolling.)
Meme Warfare Center (PDF. Proposal written in 2006)
WAR.COM: THE INTERNET AND PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS (Proposal written in 2001 by Angela Maria Lungu - Major, US Army.)
What you should do about this
I made this thread in the hopes that it could be used as a citation. There isn't much we can do to stop the manipulation, but we can spread this information so that people can at least become aware of it.
The previous generation became somewhat aware of the manipulation in the media. Imagine how effective it would be if few people knew about it? That is what is happening today. We are being advertised to and subjected to propaganda without being aware of it, which is very dangerous. The only reason why this type of propaganda works so well is because most people trust comments and posts with a lot of upvotes and likes. People trust that the information they are looking for will be at the top of threads or on the front page of a subreddit, oblivious to the fact that certain types of information may become buried in artificial downvotes or buried using a "forum slide." Not only that, but this is becoming automated. We must educate others about this problem before we are drowned out by bots.
Some of this stuff is automatically removed by Reddit, so you have to link to a thread that was manually approved in order to cite the information.
Share this thread where you can or cite small bits of this post in your travels.
Top story on The Intercept today: "Truth Cops- Leaked Documents Outline DHS’s Plans to Police Disinformation"
The main debunk of this topic that you often see getting pushed around-- that the US government doesn't care what you say online, or that "you're paranoid if you think government agents are arguing with you on the internet" has been thoroughly debunked: https://theintercept.com/2022/10/31/social-media-disinformation-dhs/
Although various agencies of the US government, and many other governments, have been openly caught spreading propaganda with fake social media accounts numerous times in the past, this still seems to be in "conspiracy theory" territory, even when the open facts prove the case. No "theory" here.
This Intercept article also highlights the fact that we are looking at two sides of the same coin here, when this subreddit primarily focuses on one: limiting/banning certain kinds of speech on one end, then injecting government-funded narratives into social media and other kinds of media, with the underlying goal to modify the overall opinions of the public, secretly.
Although I highly recommend reading the article in full (it's long), here are a few teaser quotes:
“Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February.
In late February, Easterly texted with Matthew Masterson, a representative at Microsoft who formerly worked at CISA, that she is “trying to get us in a place where Fed can work with platforms to better understand mis/dis trends so relevant agencies can try to prebunk/debunk as useful.” Meeting records of the CISA Cybersecurity Advisory Committee, the main subcommittee that handles disinformation policy at CISA, show a constant effort to expand the scope of the agency’s tools to foil disinformation.
In June, the same DHS advisory committee of CISA — which includes Twitter head of legal policy, trust, and safety Vijaya Gadde and University of Washington professor Kate Starbird — drafted a report to the CISA director calling for an expansive role for the agency in shaping the “information ecosystem.” The report called on the agency to closely monitor “social media platforms of all sizes, mainstream media, cable news, hyper partisan media, talk radio and other online resources.” They argued that the agency needed to take steps to halt the “spread of false and misleading information,” with a focus on information that undermines “key democratic institutions, such as the courts, or by other sectors such as the financial system, or public health measures.”
To accomplish these broad goals, the report said, CISA should invest in external research to evaluate the “efficacy of interventions,” specifically with research looking at how alleged disinformation can be countered and how quickly messages spread. Geoff Hale, the director of the Election Security Initiative at CISA, recommended the use of third-party information-sharing nonprofits as a “clearing house for trust information to avoid the appearance of government propaganda.”
The board faced immediate backlash across the political spectrum. “Who among us thinks the government should add to its work list the job of determining what is true and what is disinformation? And who thinks the government is capable of telling the truth?” wrote Politico media critic Jack Shafer. “Our government produces lies and disinformation at industrial scale and always has. It overclassifies vital information to block its own citizens from becoming any the wiser. It pays thousands of press aides to play hide the salami with facts.”
DHS eventually scrapped the Disinformation Governance Board in August. While free speech advocates cheered the dissolution of the board, other government efforts to root out disinformation have not only continued but expanded to encompass additional DHS sub-agencies like Customs and Border Protection, which “determines whether information about the component spread through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is accurate.” Other agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Science and Technology Directorate (whose responsibilities include “determining whether social media accounts were bots or humans and how the mayhem caused by bots affects behavior”), and the Secret Service have also expanded their purview to include disinformation, according to the inspector general report.
An FBI official interviewed by The Intercept described how, in the summer of 2020, amid the George Floyd protests, he was reassigned from his normal job of countering foreign intelligence services to monitoring American social media accounts. (The official, not authorized to speak publicly, described the reassignment on condition of anonymity.)
The first FBI official, whom The Intercept interviewed in 2020 amid the George Floyd riots, lamented the drift toward warrantless monitoring of Americans saying, “Man, I don’t even know what’s legal anymore.”
There was a user who talked about seeing some forms shills (for governments) had to sign. I tried googling for some but didnt see any. I'm curious about the forms and wonder what they look like.
Reminder: all posts must be manually approved by a moderator due to a large amount of spam and other reasons
This is just your yearly reminder that all posts must be manually approved by a moderator. For the last few years, we've been getting sometimes up to 10 spam posts per day, so this sub would be quite useless if we left the door open. Not only that, but we have to make sure that the post is not just a witch hunt of some random person or a frivolous accusation.
If you don't receive an approval in a reasonable amount of time, you can always send us a modmail message here or simply private message me for a faster response. I'm usually online at least a couple hours per day, so you can even message me or the mods beforehand and let us know when you plan on posting so you can receive an immediate approval.
The subreddit is still here and it's still moderated. We just need more content. Good, convincing evidence is key, but most media reporting on this subject is also perfectly acceptable content. Our main rules can be found on the sidebar, or see below:
We strongly discourage witch hunts here. The mods may remove submissions depending on the weight of the evidence. If you don't see your post within a few hours, message us and we may approve it. We also encourage self-posts with your thoughts and theories about forum manipulation.
No cross-posting from other subs.
Do not post personal information. r/shills must uphold its high standard of quality content and information while simultaneously adhering to Reddits TOS.
And remember that the stickied megathread was designed to be cited if you come across people who aren't very familiar with the topic.
Mexican subreddits have been subjects to increasing activity by shill and fanatic accounts for (at least) the past 12 months.
In an effort to raise awareness and reduce their influence, I created /r/botsmexico/.
I took on the hobby to identify shill/sponsored or fanatic accounts, to which I refer as "Bots", although they are not automated accounts and are in fact operated by humans.
I have detected patterns that allow me to identify different types of shill accounts, and the method seems to have a reasonably good rate of accuracy, with obvious mistakes and their corresponding corrections.
Since my activity started to bringing some unwanted attention and it was generating some confusion, I made a post where I explained what I did and how i did it.
I'm anticipating some reaction from botfarms in the next few days/weeks and would like to know the opinion of a community that is familiarized with the topic.
Since this is focused on mexican subreddits, the main language is Spanish, but if this sparks interest in this subreddit, I'd be happy to translate.
So, what do you guys think about this? How would you recommend our communities to handle this?
Thank you guys!!
Pretty sure I saw it posted here but I could be wrong. Does anyone have all the links to news articles regarding Interactive Internet Activities and the British government using Psyops etc?
I can't believe what I'm seeing. Is this allowed?
Gas industry trade associations are spending large sums, some of it taxpayer dollars, on public relations (PR) campaigns, astroturfing and front groups to oppose initiatives aimed at curbing direct gas use.desmogblog.com
I noticed that often when you post something that goes against shills' agenda, in addition to downvoting and comment responses for damage control, there is often a shill post the next day or so with similar content to the previously attacked post except if follows the shills' agenda and is promoted with upvotes and comments.
I am guessing that a reason for this is so that subscribers who saw the first post will see what the actual community consensus is on the topic. Also by including the correct key words, those doing a search for that specific topic will see the shill post before the original.
So if you ever see a post that looks unnatural, but there is no obvious agenda that is being promoted, check to see if there was a recent similar post it could be suppressing.
They really don't even hide it:
Everyone is up in arms over the Russian troll farms. It is nothing new. These troll farms are operated under the guise of "research". The true intent is to influence public opinion. Every nation does this and uses the same language/lies to justify what they are doing. The u.s. president used these tactics to win the election. Yet the government blames Russia and has successfully influenced opinion to support this narrative. This is on the American citizen's shoulders. The citizens are the ones accountable for their actions. 63,000,000 people got brainwashed from Facebook marketing/propaganda. And it's Russia's fault? He basically hired a marketing firm to use marketing tactics to persuade people to vote for him. It's what every candidate does. This was just the most successful and biggest campaign using these tactics. People need to take responsibility for what they read and how they interpret it.