Troll Farm

The Agency. From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid “trolls” has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet — and in real-life American communities. By Adrian Chen. nyt

The boom in pro-Kremlin trolling can be traced to the antigovernment protests of 2011, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets after evidence of fraud in the recent Parliamentary election emerged.

The battle was conducted on multiple fronts. Laws were passed requiring bloggers to register with the state. A blacklist allowed the government to censor websites without a court order. Internet platforms like VKontakte and Yandex were brought under the control of Kremlin allies.

The Agency had industrialized the art of trolling. Management was obsessed with statistics — page views, number of posts, a blog’s place on LiveJournal’s traffic charts — and team leaders compelled hard work through a system of bonuses and fines.

Russia’s information war might be thought of as the biggest trolling operation in history, and its target is nothing less than the utility of the Internet as a democratic space.


The well-paid trolls in this psychological operation (psyops) will soon be replaced with natural language software that can assume any voice with plausible authenticity. Knowledgable colleagues tell me that we can expect 60% of twitter to be machine generated.

See DolphinScript where a battle between scripts leads me to turn off open posting to the original wiki.

See Defrauding the Manifesto where the simplest of websites falls prey to abuse.