One of my lefty friends posted an article on facebook about the military using software that creates fake online personalities that it then uses to promote its own propaganda. The idea is terrible and is likely to cause more harm than good, because then people will suspect that real posters with opposing views are merely fake persona's created by some ominous organization. Much like agent provocateurs, once someone is outed as a fake it will only add fuel to the fire of the opposition.
Now the fun part, as soon as he posted this article two of his friends posted some inane crap about suspecting that most tea baggers are probably fake profiles using this technology. I don't buy it, first off the article focused in on government agencies using this method to try and sway the conversation, so it is unlikely that the government would try and gin up support for a group like the tea party which is at least moderately anti-government. There are two types of tea party members, the majority are flag waving republican types who don't like Obomber, but love Glen Beck, the military, and all things republican. However, there is another group of tea party types who are much more radical and are more the Ron Paul faction of the tea party then the Sarah Palin faction. I cannot see the government wanting to promote the agenda of Ron Paul in any circumstance.
I think my friend realized I was probably correct in my assertion that it is unlikely for the government to wish to promote the tea party agenda as so much of it is anti-government, anti-imperialism, and anti-Obama. So he changed tactics and said that it can be used by anyone who can afford the fee and maybe is being used by people like the Koch brothers. This seems unlikely as well, but lets pretend that this is the case and wealthy people are paying someone to create fake profiles and post articles and whatnot that support whatever the rich persons agenda is. Would it really matter much? Let's say Charles Koch pays some people to promote some issue he supports like lower taxes and he was successful, then George Soros pays people to pretend like they oppose lower taxes, then is it not a wash? Also many, many more of the extremely wealthy are left leaning democrats than any more radical republican or libertarian types. Rich tea party types and libertarians are far outnumbered by people like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others who are more statist and liberal leaning and are also very rich. If anything the most likely to use this concept besides the government are those who benefit from the corrupt government policies, and that mostly consists of large corporations that make their money from government action like companies involved in the military industrial complex, banks, prison industrial complex, and colleges that get large grants from the government. Otherwise it may be companies who are involved in a PR nightmare, like BP during the oil spill, but that will pretty obvious.