Astroturfing- Astroturfing Syndicate
To many these terms may be new or even unknown.
Astroturfing is defined by Wikipedia as:
Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message (e.g. political, advertising, or public relations) to give the appearance of it coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant.
Syndicate is defined by Wikipedia as:
A syndicate is a self-organizing group of individuals, companies, corporations or entities formed to transact some specific business, or to promote a common interest. In most cases formed groups aim to scale up their profits. Although there are many legal syndicates formed around the world, people tend to link the term syndicate to various criminal activities.
Astroturfing Syndicate would be the combination of the two
Organized groups of individuals, companies, corporations or entities that practice the masking of sponsors of a message to give the appearance of it coming from a disinterested, grassroots participants.
Defining social behavior in the digital realm is processing at a very quick pace. In addition, as the digital space becomes more ingrained with daily lives the effects are felt across the human spectrum. In fact, many people do not go one single day without hearing an audio clip or viewing a video clip. Moreover, those that do not luxuriate within the internet are encapsulated into the digital realm by television and or radio. Eventually, all are encapsulated because even if the person lives in a remote location, those that govern are encapsulated into the digital age.
In essence digital media on the internet is more permanent than that which is not. An individual can listen to a recording made 2 years ago as easily as one made last week, especially if the information is mirrored or the site that hosts it is maintained.
As a criminologist the sociology aspect of this is profound and ground breaking.
Many people witnessed the James Clapper lies to congress. Many people witnessed James Clapper confess to perjury when Clapper said that he had chosen “I thought was the most truthful or least most untruthful manner” when he testified.
Yet, he has not been charged. However, astroturfing syndicates engage in a form of witness intimidation.
That is one notable example many have knowledge of from their own digital experiences. Yet, there are many crimes the general population witness, such as crimes committed by BP during the oil spill clean-up of the US Gulf Coast region, that are not as globally known, but very well-known regionally nonetheless. Astroturfing syndicates are engaging in witness cowing and intimidation.
It would be naïve, if not unbalanced to think that the cowing and intimidation patterns do not go from digital to non-digital instances.
Witness intimidation is a crime.
Research has shown that astroturfers seek out individuals to cow and intimidate. That criminal anti-social behavior is called stalking, be it digital or non-digital.
Monbiot, George. “The need to protect the Internet from ‘astroturfing’grows ever more urgent.” The Guardian 23 (2011).
Tigner, Ronan. “Online Astroturfing and the European Union’s unfair commercial Practices Directive.” Community College Week (2009): 13.