In a number of leaked screenshots, someone is asked to write fake reviews in addition to downvoting negative comments related to Bitfinex while upvoting “newsworthy articles” on Reddit.
The astroturfers are asked to take screenshots showing they have engaged in the deceptive practice, with the leak showing a now live review on Trustpilot.
This is by a company called Pidc Networks Private Limited, an Indian based private company that says it engages in Business Services.
Who leaked this is not clear with some suggesting Bitfinex has not paid them, but there’s no confirmation.
Speculation on Bitfinex engaging in astroturfing have, however, been going on for some time.
One of our article from earlier this year, for example, was getting hundreds of fake comments on Facebook with some saying their account had been hacked.
Facebook did not respond to requests for comments, with astroturfing in general believed to be widespread across industries as a black hat marketing tactic that tries to fool individuals into thinking it is ordinary people commenting rather than paid employees.
This would generally fall under misleading advertising, but it isn’t clear whether there is any law against this fairly new practice that has developed with the rise of social media.