– Hello, Marat-aga. My name is Azamat. We are friends with you on Facebook. I read you often.
– Hello, Azamat. Very nice to meet you.
– It’s great that we met in real life. I wanted to tell you something.
– Well. Go ahead.
– I want to ask you to forgive me.
– Forgiveness? For what?
– I’ll tell you about it. You will understand everything.
Two years ago, I, a young graduate of the university, came from the province to conquer Astana. I was full of hope, faith, patriotism. I decided to enter the civil service, in one of the ministries. They pleasantly accepted me, there were many young people like me. We worked amicably and selflessly. But there was one thing in our department … Our work included work in the Internet.
– What does it mean?
– Well … this is called “creating a favorable social climate in the country “…
– Or rather?
– Well, in general, we massively created fake accounts and on their behalf trolled bloggers and unwanted authorities in the Internet.
– Wow! Come on, tell me more.
– Everything is very simple. Almost every day the director of the department came to us and gave the assignment for a day or a week. Defined goals or victims. For example, she could say: “Today we are defending the land reform. We need to convince the people that selling land to foreigners is the right decision. “Or vice versa: “Today we are “extinguishing” the runaway oligarch hiding in Europe”. And that’s all. We flew like cockroaches through the Internet, found any negative material about land reform and began to scribble comments in its’ defense. If one of the bloggers criticized the reform, then we attacked him. On average, we had a plan – 400-500 comments a day. At the same time, each of us had 10-15 fake accounts, which we regularly updated. So any reader had the impression that the majority of Kazakhstanis supported reform or, on the contrary, hated the oppositionist. This is what we needed.
– Wow! So they did not even create their own Olgino! It turns out that they turned the entire state apparatus into Olgino?
– I cannot speak about other units of our ministry. Moreover, I cannot say anything about other state bodies. But what I’m saying what I know.
– And who were your victims?
– Almost all the oppositionists. And even ordinary citizens, who showed the slightest discontent with the policy of the government. We trolled you too. That’s why I wanted to ask you to forgive me. And all the other bloggers, whom I “extinguished”.
– And while doing it, were not you ashamed?
– In the beginning – no. A thorough explanatory work was conducted with us. They compelled us that you are all enemies of the state, agents of foreign influence. They told us that you want to destabilize the situation in the country, to organize a revolution to come to power and to take our riches to the hands. But then, as I was reading you more and more, I began to understand that this was not so. I saw your rightness, but there was nothing for me to answer. I had to switch to insults, take the conversation aside. You probably remember such opponents.
– Yes, such “opponents” arise regularly under my posts. So is it state that trolls me?
– They’re not necessarily all trolls. But trolls, or rather their fakes are easy to find out.
– Well, first of all, they have a short history. Typically, such accounts are created for specific tasks, and then closed. Therefore, if you see that the account was opened several days ago, a month, well, a maximum of six months ago, then you need to look at it.
Secondly, fakes usually do not write their own posts. It is labor-intensive and it is not paid work. The authorities only require comments. Therefore, none of us wrote our own posts. Our accounts were empty or filled with reposts of other people’s materials. Such reposts we did to create an illusion of the reality of the account.
Third, fakes usually have few friends. If a person with 10-15 friends knocked at you, then, most likely – this fake. His friends are the same fakes as himself, or indecipherable well-known bloggers who take in friends all in a row for quantity.
Fourthly, unreal pictures in the avatar and in photo albums. Trolls beginners put photos of some dogs or TV stars. When I was more experienced, I usually took a picture of some real person for an avatar from the Internet. But for a photo album it is already difficult to find many photographs of the same person. Therefore fake faces usually do not coincide in photos. This should alert you.
Well, and fifthly, fakes often have awkward names. Just on the hundredth fake at the troll fantasy is already ending, and he begins to give his next creation the most stupid names. And it’s okay. I do not have to live with it.
– Well. Thank you, Azamat. I’ll know it now. And special thanks for apologies . As they say, it’s better late than never. And what are you doing now, Azamat?
– I left the civil service. I was tired to fight with my own conscience. For a year and a half I convinced myself that I was benefiting the Motherland. I was really doing the right things most of the time at work. But these special assignments and other special assignments of the management got me. I felt that the further, the more I get bogged down in this swamp. And then, the load was terrible with such a miserable salary there. After all, all the work that I have described to you, we did during working hours. But at the same time, no one took off the main duties from us. I had to work late and on weekends. This is some kind of penal servitude.
In short, I left the civil service. I joined a private company. Work in the same field, though, the salary is unstable, depends on the work, but the schedule is free and most importantly – the conscience is clean.
– What about patriotism? Service to the Motherland?
– Now I think that what I did in the civil service was not good, but to the detriment of the Motherland. When I “extinguished” the opponents of power, all dissidents, I participated in the slipping of our country into authoritarianism and totalitarianism. And this does not contribute to the development of the country. Now I understand this. Thanks to your posts. Thank you, Marat-aga.
– And thank you, Azamat. Be happy. Be a true citizen, my brother!