Bulgaria: Professional Trolls Earn BGN 1,200 Month, They Are More Common Than You’d Think

Society | March 8, 2021, Monday // 11:19
Bulgaria: Bulgaria: Professional Trolls Earn BGN 1,200 Month, They Are More Common Than You’d Think

BGN 1,200 for twenty posts a day on social media - such is the minimum remuneration of a political troll during the election campaign this month.

It turns out that many political parties deliberately resort to using such services online, writes "24 Hours."

Officially, their campaigns are waged through traditional and new media, with which the parties conclude contracts and all of them de jure are public. Informally, however, they are also looking for those "grey" sources of information and opinions that also may influence political decisions and choices.

Political forces avoid buying trolls themselves, so they prefer to do so through agencies. The price is between BGN 40 and 60, often there is additional remuneration for group leaders as well as the authors of the messages, known more as "talking points," experts say.

Influencers - celebrities who are opinion leaders on certain topics - are often involved in the battle for the votes. They can also be experts - doctors, engineers, when the topic is specific. For them, however, the payroll is completely different.

The famous get at least BGN 5,000 monthly to advertise something specific, while experts, who are not so popular, take BGN 1,500-2,000. That's money paid for product advertising. For the proclamation of a party or political views, however, the amounts are much higher and negotiated directly, with the influencer not publishing what he is doing, i.e. it is hidden advertising.

Payments for PR services also increase by about 30% when it comes to politics, people familiar with the price list explain. The reason is that the work is hard, and the stakes are high.

At the same time, in parliamentary elections, the number of PR agencies hired is not as many as in local elections. Then they usually involve more, as the work is also less centralized.

However, PR money is not easy at all, moreover that there is also the risk that agencies will get it at all. Practice so far has shown that political forces sometimes don't pay what they owe. The woeful glory is especially for the small emerging parties and for those who fail to hurdle over 1% barrier. Big political forces are generally good payers, they say.

Giving the people a voice is one thing, but it’s entirely another when a paid propagandist masquerades as “one of us.” It can be effective, too: comments at the end of articles have been shown in numerous studies to shape reader opinion in meaningful ways. Some even claim that professional trolls influenced the US presidential election, perhaps helping Donald Trump to win.

That’s the entire point of professional trolls, some of which allegedly operate one or more fake personas on social media, blogs, and boards to spout their employers’ “talking points” which are more often than not political in nature. In the case of some Russian trolls, the intent is to sow confusion, which given the state of the Internet, is certainly not hard.



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