A group of scholars led by Gary King, being a political scientist at the Harvard who has specialized in using quantitative data to understand public policy, and this team ran a study on Chinese hype workers popularly known as 50 cent party. As the name suggests, the workers of this party are paid 50 Chinese cents for each social media post.
As per the study, the government of china whips about 488 million social media posts a year- which is a nearing twitter's global volume a day. Huge right ? Now the question is, why does government of china pay people to post ? It's just a cumbrous effort to distract their citizens from various bad news, sensitive news and debate on politics. Apart from censoring the internet of the country the Chinese government also fills the social media with fake comments and doesn't get into any kind of debate on any other country, neither critics nor funtainment see 50 cent workers getting indulged. It majorly works in distracting the chinese public with contents of positivity, cheering or revolutionaries of the past and worst part is, they are too good at distracting the public.
"In retrospect, this makes a lot of sense — stopping an argument is best done by distraction and changing the subject rather than more argument — but this had previously been unknown,” King said in an email.
As per the research conducted, more than half of the post positive messages were on government websites and rest were jabbed into the around 85 billion social media posts entering china's internet, i.e. 1 among every 183 social media posts were pushed by the Chinese government.
In 2013-2014 email archive was leaked from the propaganda office- Zhanggong and this archive included various formats of emails and encrypted programs that were enough for King and his team to crack through and come up with a customized computer code and automated text analysis and they successfully pulled out around 2400 emails that proved useful to them.
The members of the party comes in action whenever there is social unrest or protest with a huge number posts that in a way wipes out the public opinions on the issues going on. The count of post is enough against the number of people voicing out against the issue.
The Chinese government realised that most of the political discussions took place online and the active online presence of the chinese citizens can be used to distract them from the the political discussion. It's like minimising the effect of the political posts online with such smart commenters. This was a really smart and affordable move made by the chinese government.
These guys are really very effective in terms of distraction and kind off mastered this commenting job. Reports states that 10-18 percent of the overall comments on all the social media come from these guys, who smartly wave off the discussion on the government. A legitimate use people and money we can say but of course not ethical.
Stay tuned for more......!!