New submitter bowlinearl writes "Three weeks ago Slashdot featured a story on the Chinese Water Army. A new study from researchers at UCSB delves even deeper into the problem of crowdturfing (full disclosure: I am one of the authors of the study). The study reveals that evil crowdsourcing services in China are a multi-million dollar industry, and that the number of jobs and the amount of money are growing exponentially. Hundreds of thousands of workers are involved, including a small contingent of career crowdturfers who each manage hundreds of accounts on social networks. The researchers observed the behavior of workers and the unwitting users who click on the generated spam by infiltrating the two largest crowdsourcing sites in China. However, crowdturfing isn't confined to China: the researchers discovered crowdsourcing sites in the U.S. that are 95% astroturf, as opposed to Amazon's Mechanical Turk, which actively polices itself, and is only 12% astroturf."
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