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Google’s astroturfing operation

This offers a fascinating insight into Google’s (apparent) astroturfing operation concerning the European copyright directive: Constantin van Lijnden writing in the top German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has uncovered the financial link between YouTubers in the paid service of Google to “protest” in favor of the multinational monopolist’s interests in the […]

How widespread is shadow mobilisation?

In the last few years, I’ve become interested in what I think of as shadow mobilisation: assembling people under false pretences and/or in a way intended to create a misleading impressions of the mobilisation. This is often framed in terms of astroturfing – fake grass roots – however it appears […]

Mobilising a sharing economy revolution

One of the most interesting things about so-called sharing economy companies is their mobilisation of users in defence of their political objectives. This is something which can prove uniquely urgent because of the sheer number of municipalities in which they operate, leaving them exposed to regulatory backlash particularly given their […]

Micro-tasking political activism

This is disturbing, though unsurprising. How widespread could it get? Normative pressure is enough to lead to a removal at present but that seems unlikely to be a viable long-term counter-strategy: Someone out there really wants President Donald Trump’s polarizing nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, to get the […]

a foretaste of the coming uber wars

This is a fascinating buzzfeed article about Uber’s successful encroachment into the Las Vegas market, in the face of massive opposition: But tonight, for the first time, there were Uber cars among the limos and cabs. One picked up a fare at Caesars Palace and embarked on what would have […]

the astroturfing industry 

From Edward Walker’s Grassroots For Hire pg 6-7: Today, more and more advocacy is being driven not by the local organizing of autonomous citizens, but by the efforts of paid consultants that organizations like these for- profit colleges hire to help them activate receptive members of the public on their […]