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Astroturfing in online comment: An investigation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Murray Dick


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This paper investigates ‘astroturfing’ (the creation of armies of ‘sockpuppet’ personae towards influencing public opinion) in online news comments. Concerns about this practice and its potential impact on public discourse have been voiced in the press, and across a range of disciplines; but it has been little stud-ied in communications and journalism studies. How is online ‘astroturfing’ in contemporary online news and current affairs defined (opera-tionally); how is it experienced, and what can be done to mitigate it? Given the difficulties attendant to normatively defining astroturf-ing, discussion shifts to how alternative frame-works in journalism ethics may help journalists challenge this new phenomenon.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dick M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics

Year: 2016

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

Pages: 32-38

Print publication date: 28/01/2016

Acceptance date: 19/02/2016

Date deposited: 07/06/2018

ISSN (print): 1742-0105

Publisher: Abramis

Notes: Issue ISBN 9781845496760