Redditor outs astroturfer with 20 accounts

A Reddit user noticed an odd pattern of upvotes for stories related to G4 TechTV and various other game-related companies. After a little investigation, the firms in question came clean (or at least, accounts seeming to belong to them came clean), and admitted that they had a relationship with a pro linkspammer ("social networking specialist") who was running up to 20 Reddit identities at once and using them to game the outcomes. The linkspammer (or at least, an account seeming to belong to the linkspammer) has admitted it:

I would go into why I do social media but it's personal and I don't like to give out personal information. Btw. As masterofhyrule. I would like to say I didn't spam digg back then, I just added a bunch of friends to share to to get my videos on the front page but when I saw it hit top 10 I was surprised. I didn't do the videos for money, I did it to be popular and the reason I was banned from digg back then wasn't because of spam, it was from the greasemonkey script that 100+ users used. Just wanted to clear that up even thoughts been 3 years about. Feel free to attack me, just please don't hate the sites, they aren't the problem.

The comment threads in question are a fascinating glimpse into the corrosive effect of astroturfing on social relationships — a kind of social media reenactment of The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street — as Redditors rage against the house of mirrors and wonder who among them are simply sock-puppets for the wrongdoers.

Of course, this is the sort of thing that HB Gary was developing for use in the middle east, to destroy the burgeoning public discourse and turn neighbors against each other "own the narrative."

Meanwhile, the spammer's account of his own actions is so far in denial, so wounded and broken, you get a picture of some kind of savant psychopath festering in his begrimed underwear in a basement somewhere, plaintively mourning the loss of his make-believe "friends" who always showed up to agree with everything he said.

GamePro, G4TV and VGChartz GamrFeed have been abusing multiple accounts to spam and manipulate /r/gaming for months

(Thanks, Mikeout, via Submitterator!)

(Image: Brandon sock puppet, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from pepperlime's photostream)