The members of China's notorious 50 Cent
Party (五毛党, named from the alleged 0.5 yuan payment per posting)
are the online commentators hired by Chinese authorities
to post on social media spreading government propaganda and
faking public opinions.
To be fair, Chinese government is not
the only regime employing cyber mercenary armies. The U.S.
government goes much further. Its military force is developing
sockpuppetry software to promote US agenda through public
opinion manipulation at a massive scale and across the world.
But Chinese government is catching up.
The above is a screen shot of a state-sponsored
website page running an article about a Hong Kong actor's
drug offence. The actor happens to have a same given name
as the lately persecuted top-level leader Zhou Yongkang,
so we see some amazing comments posted under the article.
"Firmly support the central government,
China now has a good hope!!!", one said. "Good,
bravo, support!", another declared. "Great, firmly
support the decision made by the central government!, " the
third one claimed. And the similar comments went on and on.
Obviously, the robots are programmed
to trigger a government-support response to the two particular
Chinese characters that form Zhou Yongkang's given name.