You may want to think twice the next time you read glowing online reviews about Russian smartphones. According to reports, a former Russian KGB officer named Vladimir has created a triving industry in Russia, Slavic-ly devoted to promotion of all things...Vladimir, including his Russian made phone.
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers fondly remember the Cold War.
Today's humble blogwatcher is Stephen Glasskeys.
Instead of a bridge, Peter Holden tells us trolls prefer getting paid under a table:
We've known for some time now that Russia employs a small legion of online writers -- trolls -- to advance political agendas, but rarely do we get a look inside. The Guardian was able to meet with people who've worked for the group, and even saw a list of the group's objectives: promote Vladimir Putin, smear the US, and, apparently, promote Russia's best-known smartphone.
The YotaPhone 2 is already a well-liked device, but...trolls have [allegedly] been given cash under the table to secretly write and post positive reviews. MORE
Alyssa Bereznak sings Adoration of the Vladi: [Eww. You're fired -Ed.]
Here's one way to win the adoration of the Internet: launch an entire agency dedicated to making you look good.
The Kremlin allegedly runs a troll agency in a nondescript building in St. Petersburg, employing hundreds of paid bloggers and commenters to mock Western leaders...and spread pro-Russian sentiment. MORE
Shaun Walker trebles the effectiveness of a troll:
The trolls worked in teams of three. The first one would leave a complaint about [something] or simply post a link, then the other two would wade in, using links to articles on Kremlin-friendly websites and "comedy" photographs lampooning western or Ukrainian leaders with abusive captions.
Other task sheets demand glowing reviews of the YotaPhone, a Russian-made smartphone, abuse [of a] former US state department spokeswoman, and three relate to Ukraine and the west's plans there. MORE
Meanwhile, Sascha Segan implores you to be skeptical:
The fact that the troll house is promoting a Russian phone doesn't shock me. We know that the Chinese government has similar legions of paid propaganda posters, mostly on Chinese-language forums. If they're paid to promote Chinese products and services over foreign-made gadgets and sites, well, I wouldn't be too surprised.
[Out] there in the realm of drive-by anonymous posting, anyone could be paid by Vladimir Putin. So be skeptical. For your own sake. MORE
You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings and Stephen Glasskeys, who curate the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @itblogwatch or firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.