Sock puppets are very powerful because humans value social proof and highly desire to be part of a crowd, while being ostracized is a very negative feeling.
As I said in a previous post, four sock puppets agreeing on some issue is far more convincing than putting a lot of effort into writing posts with logical arguments (which hardly anyone will read).
Sock puppets can be very useful if you are just starting a new blog, because commenting on your own posts under a pseudonym creates the illusion that people are reading your blog, and people would rather read a popular blog than an unknown blog. (I have never used a sock puppet on this blog, because I’m too lazy.)
Sock puppets are very valuable if you’re an author with a book on Amazon. Writing a few favorable reviews of a new book can spur sales. It’s the social proof thing.
I also imagine that sock puppets could be very useful on FaceBook for creating the illusion that you are more popular, which in turn would make you more popular in reality because people will like you more on account of the social proofl.
The CIA understands the power of sock puppets. According to this article in The Guardian:
The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.
A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.
The project has been likened by web experts to China’s attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.
In my previous post advising use of sock puppets to spread the truth of HBD, the commenter Yakov said that it was “despicable.” But if our own government is doing it, why is it despicable for private citizens doing it for a good cause?
Of course, people who manage online sites know about sock puppets and don’t want them. FaceBook has very strict policies against fake accounts so my advice is to be very very cautious about using FaceBook that way if you don’t want your real account to be terminated, and then you would be cut off from all of your friends.
And I don’t want people using sock puppets on my blog, so here’s a warning that I will no longer tolerate people posting under multiple pseudonyms and I will start calling people out for doing that.