An online troll used to refer to a kind of internet-user who only commented and posted to get a rise out of their friends and followers, to trigger them in some way. Nowadays, the word ‘troll’ has a much more insidious meaning. People automatically connote ‘troll’ with people being paid to spread fake news or fight with social media users. And apparently, it pays well.
GMA was able to interview the head of a ‘troll’ company to understand how they operate, as well as how they compensate. According to them, trolls are “paid to make multiple fake accounts to promote a client […] and influence how the other netizens think and react on certain issues.” There are also two types of trolls: white and black. Black trolls are the ones which resort to negative campaigning or spreading hate, while white trolls are more ‘diplomatic’.
Their anonymous interviewee was said to manage a ‘troll group’ of 500 individuals who are tasked to “push the candidate” by “boosting, defense, [and] fortifying”. Each troll will be managing 200 different social media accounts, each with their own character to maintain in order for the profile to look authentic.
There is an overarching narrative that the client usually sets and which all posts or actions from the trolls will have to follow. It is up to the public relations team to disseminate this message and for content editors to create material based on this narrative.
It’s a lot of multi-tasking and maintenance for whatever position you hold in the troll farm and they are well compensated for it. The pay starts at P30,000 from entry-level trolls and goes up to P70,000 depending on seniority and tasks assigned to them. Popular social media influencers can get anything from P30,000 per post upwards.
What do you think of using paid trolls as a campaign strategy?