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Influence-for-hire is an escalating digital trend where public discourse[2], perspectives, and data are deliberately distorted for a price, typically in line with a broader political or strategic objective. This method is progressively employed by individuals, entities, and even governments to sway public sentiment and manipulate the narrative to their advantage. Networks that offer influence-for-hire services have been implicated in several international episodes, including disinformation[1] drives during the COVID-19 pandemic and deceptive operations linked to nations like Ukraine, China, Australia, and Taiwan. The active role of Facebook[3] in dismantling a Ukrainian influence-for-hire network in May 2021 underlines the platform’s commitment to combating such practices. Nonetheless, the expansion of this digital underworld economy prompts serious apprehensions about foreign meddling and the proliferation of false information. Hence, it’s advised that governments and platforms work jointly to counter these operations.

Terms definitions
1. disinformation. Disinformation, a term rooted in the Proto-Indo-European language family, is the deliberate propagation of inaccurate or misleading data, typically for political or sociocultural manipulation. This practice gained prominence in the 1980s and has been the focus of comprehensive research to decipher its origins, techniques, and effects. Disinformation is frequently employed in deceptive strategies on social platforms and is distinct from misinformation and malinformation. It's prevalent in political contexts, often muddling citizens and disheartening their participation. Disinformation has worldwide consequences, utilized by governments, NGOs, and global businesses. It poses a threat to the integrity of elections and can instigate societal rifts. Entities like NATO and the EU have implemented various strategies to tackle this problem. The exploration of disinformation also encompasses ethical aspects and its application in warfare. Despite these initiatives, disinformation continues to be a persistent issue due to its ubiquitous presence and the challenge in gauging its real impact.
2. discourse. The primary focus of this piece, discourse, is a concept prevalent in social sciences that pertains to formal dialogues or debates centered around a specific subject. It includes the language used, discussions held, and written documents that contribute to our comprehension of societal constructs. Discourse has a profound connection with power dynamics and is instrumental in molding our reality. Numerous theoretical perspectives such as modernism, structuralism, poststructuralism, and Foucault's discourse theory provide insights into discourse. Various forms of discourse analysis like critical, conversation, and Foucauldian discourse analysis aid in deciphering communication trends and societal frameworks. Discourse study is extensively applicable in diverse fields like sociology, environmental policy, and cultural studies, and has deep-seated effects on gendered discourses and societal standards. Esteemed scholars such as James P. Gee, Robert Stalnaker, and Peter Pagin have made significant contributions to the analysis of discourse. Research on discourse is of utmost importance in social sciences as it enhances our knowledge of language, identity, and power hierarchies.
Influence-for-hire (Wikipedia)

Influence-for-hire or collective influence, refers to the economy that has emerged around buying and selling influence on social media platforms.

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