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A sockpuppet (also sock puppet, sock-puppet) is a user account on a social network that is created for the purpose of providing credibility to a pre-existing account by creating the appearance of collective agreement. It is a small-scale version of astroturfing.

How It Works

  • User A (the sockmaster) creates user accounts B, C, etc. under different names. (A competent sockmaster will create an avatar, fill in substantial background details, and establish a posting history as well, in order to make these accounts seem more like real people, since experienced users will often block a bluehead at the first sign of trouble.)
  • User A makes a controversial statement which would not otherwise be taken seriously.
  • User A then logs on as User B and makes a comment agreeing with the first statement. (A competent sockmaster may wait until someone disagrees with the original comment, in order to make the flow seem more natural.)
  • Depending on how many sockpuppet accounts the user has created, how much time/energy they want to put into the project, and how the marks respond to the initial provocation, the sockmaster may then repeat the process with accounts C, D, etc.