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Research: Paid posters poison the Internet

John P. Mello Jr. | Nov. 25, 2011
In China, they're called the Internet Water Army: legions of people paid to flood online hangouts with postings and comments (primarily for marketing purposes). And according to academic researchers, they're degrading information quality on the Web.

For the same reason, the rate between comment postings is shorter, too. And they don't use an I.D. very long, either. Their "mission" time is usually short. When their mission is done, they discard their I.D. and never use it again.

Detecting infiltration of a website by paid posters with automated systems that use semantic analysis can be effective, the researchers noted.

"The reason why the semantic analysis improves performance is that online paid posters often try to post many comments with some minor edits on each post, leading to similar sentences," they explained. "This helps the paid posters post many comments and complete their assignments quickly, but also helps our classifier to detect them."


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