A digital expert examined 226,000 pro-Obamacare posts made by 40,000 Facebook profiles and determined that “sixty percent of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time.” The expert, Matthew Brown, determined that “they were paid to post.”
Brown, described as a data analyst, used analysis software to study the response to Obamacare on social media. He appeared on Sharyl Attkisson’s “Full Measure” broadcast on the Sinclair Network.
He began investigating it after his criticism of the former president’s health insurance program posted on the Obamacare Facebook page. He was hit hard by digital activists pretending to be regular people.
“Digital activists are paid employees; their purpose is to attack anyone who’s posting something contrary to the view of the page owner wants expressed,” he told Attkisson.
She reports that he evaluated 226,000 pro-Obamacare posts made by 40,000 Facebook profiles.
Brown: “Sixty percent of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time.”
Sharyl: “Which means what?”
Brown: “They were paid to post.”
Brown also discussed “Zombie Posts” with Attkisson:
Brown says it’s rampant on social media. One popular tool: “zombie profiles” that make automated “robo” posts.
Brown: A zombie post is a fake, purchased, or rented Facebook profile that’s expressing the views of an organization as if it was his or her own. But, when in reality, the comment being expressed is done on software and written by generally one or two people. So, the zombie posts will go out on a schedule and then they are supported by zombie likes.
Attkisson: Is there any reason to believe Republicans don’t do the same thing, and corporations as well?
Brown: There’s no reason to believe that everybody’s not doing it.
We always knew this sort of “churning” occurred, but I don’t think too many people thought that it happened on this scale. How much influence does this paid promotion of Obamacare have on people’s attitudes? I think it can be overstated, largely because the apparatus existed while Obamacare support was in the tank. And while the popularity of Obamacare is on the rise, this is probably due to the threats by Republicans to repeal it.
Never take a government goody away from the people once it’s been granted.
As far as Brown’s analysis, we really don’t know who he is or what he actually does for a living. Nor is the methodology of his study discussed except the general kind of software used to examine the data. And, of course, there’s no definitive evidence that the people who own those 100 profiles are being paid to post positive things about Obamacare. All we have is the strong inference of payment because of the time period the posts are published and the fact that so few people have generated tens of thousands of Facebook posts singing the praises of Obamacare.
I wouldn’t do that for free. Would you?