Former CBS Reporter Claims Firms Sway Opinion with Fake Social Profiles

One’s personal opinion of former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson may depend on how seriously one takes her claim that the White House hacked her personal computer in order to prevent her from telling the truth about Benghazi. (For what it’s worth, she also recently attempted to resuscitate the long-disproven idea that vaccines cause autism.)

Still, we found this little clip from Attkisson’s recent Larry King interview interesting:

We know from personal experience that many media groups’ internal PR teams do indeed spend time trolling relevant comment threads. We know that certain companies create accounts strictly to gauge public sentiment via social media. We also know that many advocacy groups cast themselves as “grassroots” when they’re actually well-funded, well-oiled political machines.

Still, we’re skeptical of this claim: how many fake accounts could a single firm create for each client? And what’s the ROI on working with fake influencers, anyway?

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.