Sockpuppet (Internet)

sockpuppetsockpuppetssockpuppetrysock puppetsock puppetssockpuppetingsock puppetryMeatpuppetanonymously posteddummy
A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception.wikipedia
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The first documented use of the term "sockpuppet" dates back to July 9, 1993, but it did not become common in USENET groups until 1996.
Usenet is culturally and historically significant in the networked world, having given rise to, or popularized, many widely recognized concepts and terms such as "FAQ", "flame", Sockpuppet, and "spam".

Wiki-PR editing of Wikipedia

Wiki-PRJordan Frenchediting by the public relations firm Wiki-PR
On October 21, 2013 the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) condemned paid advocacy sockpuppeting on Wikipedia and, on October 23, specifically banned editing by the public relations firm Wiki-PR.
The company gained media attention in 2013 after a sockpuppet investigation related to the company resulted in more than 250 Wikipedia user accounts being blocked or banned.

Orangemoody editing of Wikipedia

OrangemoodyOperation Orangemoody
In August and September 2015 the WMF uncovered another group of sockpuppets known as Orangemoody.
On August 31, 2015, the English Wikipedia community discovered 381 sockpuppet accounts operating a secret paid editing ring.

Sybil attack

In the abstract theory of social networks and reputation systems, this is known as a sybil attack.
Sybil attacks are also called sock puppetry.


astroturffake blogastroturf groups
For example, according to one online encyclopedia, a meat puppet "publishes comments on blogs, wikis and other public venues about some phenomenon or product in order to generate public interest and buzz"—that is, he/she is engaged in behavior more widely known as "astroturfing".
Another technique is the use of sockpuppets, where a single person creates multiple identities online to give the appearance of grassroots support.

People v. Golb

In 2010, in People v. Golb, 50-year-old lawyer Raphael Golb was convicted on 30 criminal charges, including identity theft, criminal impersonation, and aggravated harassment, for using multiple sockpuppet accounts to attack and impersonate historians he perceived as rivals of his father, Norman Golb.
People v. Golb is an extensively litigated New York case in which Raphael Golb was convicted for sock puppetry conduct relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Block (Internet)

Internet blockingblockingbanned
One reason for sockpuppeting is to circumvent a block, ban or other form of sanction imposed on the person's original account.
Alternate accounts set up by people evading bans from websites are referred to as sockpuppets.

Internet troll

Such sockpuppets behave in a similar manner to Internet trolls.
Teams of sponsored trolls, sometimes referred to as sockpuppet armies, swarm a site to overwhelm any honest discourse and denigrate any who disagree with them.

Suicide of Megan Meier

Megan MeierMegan Meier Cyber-bullying Prevention ActMegan Meier suicide case of 2006
Drew's goal had been to create a relationship with Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl who had been in conflict with Drew's daughter.
The parent, Lori Drew, who created the fake account, admitted that she and her daughter had the password to the account, and characterized the hoax to a reporter as a "joke".

Sock puppet

sock puppetssockpuppethand puppet made from a sock
The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person.

False flag

false flag operationfalse-flagfalse flags
A strawman sockpuppet is a false flag pseudonym created to make a particular point of view look foolish or unwholesome in order to generate negative sentiment against it.
This is a particular case of sockpuppeting and safe-baiting.

John Rechy

NumbersThe Sexual Outlaw
John Rechy, who wrote the best-selling novel City of Night (1963), was one of the more famous authors unmasked in this way, and was shown to have written numerous five-star reviews of his own work.
Rechy was cited by journalist Amy Harmon in a 2004 New York Times article that reported about a computer glitch on that suddenly revealed the identities of thousands of people who had anonymously posted book reviews.

Internet Research Agency

Trolls from Olginotroll farmFederal News Agency
The information was determined by many to have originated with a Russian government-sponsored sockpuppet management office in Saint Petersburg, called the Internet Research Agency.
The agency has employed fake accounts registered on major social networking sites, discussion boards, online newspaper sites, and video hosting services to promote the Kremlin's interests in domestic and foreign policy including Ukraine and the Middle East as well as attempting to influence the 2016 United States presidential election.


Catfishing is a type of deceptive activity where a person creates a sockpuppet social networking presence, or fake identity on a social network account, usually targeting a specific victim for abuse, deception or fraud.

Operation Earnest Voice

The activity was part of Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), a programme first developed in Iraq as a weapon of psychological warfare.
The aim of the initiative is to use sockpuppets to spread pro-American propaganda on social networking services based outside of the US.

Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia

Conflict of interest editing on Wikipedialobbying for changesCorporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement
In 2012 Wikipedia launched one of its largest sockpuppet investigations, when editors reported suspicious activity suggesting 250 accounts had been used to engage in paid editing.


In addition, some shills use "sock puppetry", where they sign on as one user soliciting recommendations for a specific product or service.

Michael Hiltzik

Hiltzik, MichaelMichael A. Hiltzik
American reporter Michael Hiltzik was temporarily suspended from posting to his blog, "The Golden State", on the Los Angeles Times website after he admitted "posting there, as well as on other sites, under false names."
In 2006, Hiltzik was suspended without pay from the LA Times for sockpuppeting on his blog "The Golden State".

Stephen Leather

During a panel in 2012, UK fiction writer Stephen Leather admitted using pseudonyms to praise his own books, claiming that "everyone does it".
Leather's comment was widely reported, and, on 3 September 2012, forty nine other British authors issued a group statement in which they "unreservedly condemn" the use of sockpuppets, or paid reviews.

Lee Siegel (cultural critic)

Lee Siegel
Lee Siegel, a writer for The New Republic magazine, was suspended for defending his articles and blog comments under the user name "Sprezzatura."
The comments were made through the device of a "sock puppet" dubbed "sprezzatura", who, as one reader noted, was a consistently vigorous defender of Siegel, and who specifically denied being Siegel when challenged by another commenter in "Talkback".

State-sponsored Internet propaganda

State-sponsored Internet sockpuppetrystate-sponsored
As an example of state-sponsored Internet sockpuppetry, In 2011, a California company called Ntrepid was awarded a $2.76 million contract from US Central Command for "online persona management" operations to create "fake online personas to influence net conversations and spread US propaganda" in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Pashto.

Online identity

identityonline identitiesInternet identity
A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception.


onlinethe Internetweb
The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person.

Internet manipulation

online propagandato manipulate public opinion
The term now includes other misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a person or organization, to manipulate public opinion, or to circumvent a suspension or ban from a website.


nom de guerrealiaspseudonyms
A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the main account operator.