China's new army of nationalist trolls is an all-volunteer force


Originally published at:


Look out 2018 here we come!

Signed humanity…


This pathetic situation is why people should be flattered when we accuse them of being paid trolls. The idea of someone posting reality-challenged apologias on behalf of authoritarian nationalists without getting paid for it is a sad one.


I’m sure this new form of volunteerism has nothing to do with preventing said volunteer’s social score from dropping below certain thresholds, nopenopenope.


‘Volunteer’ Andrew wrote, wishing to invest as much bitter sarcasm as possible into the word.



This is humanity, signing off.



Well, surely they’ll be here soon. Shouldn’t we put out some snacks or something?


They will probably need them considering they are posting from prison camps.


If they have to bypass censors to access Facebook and coordinate their trolling, aren’t they setting themselves up as guilty of something if the state needs an excuse to smack them?


??? Corey’s article doesn’t mention that. (Can’t access the Financial Times, so didn’t read that source.)

It could potentially be used as an excuse eventually, but actually right now, it’s not illegal to use a VPN in China.


No it doesn’t. But somehow “all volunteer” and China just doesn’t seem go together. :slight_smile:

I am just picturing Chinese dissidents trolling online for their daily rations.

Less worry about that if they are posting from a prison camp, right? They would be under strict supervision.

See, my idea does sound plausible?

(Yes I am kidding here, but things are strange enough that it could be true)


Many are fiercely patriotic in China (or at least eager to give that impression), so if they’ve got the time, I could buy it.

What I don’t buy is imprisoned dissidents being given access to the internet. Especially not access to sites normally restricted.


The supervision would be so time-consuming that I would think it would be better to just let the supervisors make the posts. Then again, China can be inefficient.


The room was full of trolls, some of whom were very old.


It’s fun to charter an accountant?


How much supervision do people in a prison camp need while they are sitting down in front of a computer? Its not like they can call for help and expect results. Because no matter what they post at the end of the day they are still in prison and can’t go anywhere.


Chinese nationalism is deliberately encouraged by the state, yes. But it is also genuinely felt by many Chinese people. It isn’t hugely different from the USA in that respect.

No prison camps required. They’ve got 'em, but again: not hugely different from the USA.


They can commit crimes online, some of them may even be in prison for digital crimes. They can also plan and collude with outside crime forces, like in the cases of crime bosses continuing to run their empires from inside of prisons.

Prisoners are typically only granted restricted supervised internet access as being online is similar to being out in the world and they’ve been revoked that freedom for whatever reason.

Personally, I think that prisoners need more and better defined rights if we are ever to get from a punitive system to a correctional one, but that is a bigger conversation.