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December The Blahger 2017 The Weird Reasons Why People Make Up False Identities on the Internet

December The Blahger 2017 -

Businessman face to face with colleague hiding behind mask
Getty
Businessman face to face with colleague hiding behind mask
Getty

Sockpuppetry—using false identities for deception—is centuries old, but the advent of the web has made creating sockpuppets, and falling for their tricks, easier than ever before.

We can’t physically meet most of the people we interact with on the internet. So we create avatars who represent us in the online world, personae that are designed—on some level, conscious or subconscious—to shape others’ ideas about who we really are. Indeed, it’s natural for us to create avatars that represent what we want to be rather than what we are. And it’s only a short step from there to manipulating others’ perceptions of us to give ourselves an advantage of some sort, to deceive. To become puppet masters.

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