Sockpuppeting refers to an online identity used for deception purposes. It was used to a false identity assumed by a member on the internet pretending to be another person, a fictional character, or a false identity. It was first used on July 9, 1993, but it has gotten a lot of infamy on the mid-2010s.
Why It's A Cybercrime
First off, you got these trolls, manchildren, and impatient users who want to escape a ban by using alternate accounts just for revenge.
Sockpuppets can be used to submit a lot of votes in favor of the puppeteer. This is not only cheating but it's also considered to be stealth marketing.
Many sockpuppets can be used to false flag many people on social media simply because they try to act superior to each other.
Another type of sockpuppet is a meatpuppets. Meatpuppets are used to publish comments on public venues about a phenomenon or product just to get more public views meaning that they are attention whores.
One other type of sockpuppet is called a strawman sockpuppet which is used for false flagging.
People would tend to make up false identities of other people just to make a said user look bad. This can even count as identity theft.
This caused the Internet to become a battlefield for virtual personalities.
They are everywhere on the internet.
Sockpuppets are also used by those who have been banned before just to ban evade.
Some of the sockpuppets are either pedophiles or terrorists who think that sockpuppeting can grant them what they wished for.
There are many infamous examples of sockpuppeting.
Around 2007 John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Food sockpuppeted on the Yahoo Finance Message Board to start a war with Wild Oats Markets while attacking short-sellers. He was convicted of mail fraud and obstruction.
Around 2010, a historian named Orlando Figes had accounts in the form of "orlando-birkbeck" and "historian" who ended up praising his own books and criticizing Rachel Polonsky and Robert Service. Later on, Figes was sued by Rachel and Robert.
An American reporter in the name of Michael Hiltzick used pseudonyms to attack many conservatives to the point that prosecutor Patrick Frey exposed him. Later on, he was suspended from blogging.
A writer for The New Republic magazine named Lee Sigel made an account under the name of "Sprezzatura" who defended Siegel's bad reviews of Jon Stewart: "Siegel is brave, brilliant and wittier than Stewart will ever be." This got him suspended.
Ata Berdiyev was a Russian Steam developer who published shovelware games and cannot take criticism. He used sockpuppets to make good reviews of the game as well as publishing a game based on school shootings called Active Shooter with his fake account.
One of the most controversial examples of sockpuppeting is when a number of the sockpuppet accounts managed to report an explosion at a Lousiana chemical plant around 2014. The report came from many media like Twitter and YouTube, but the event was a hoax.
Even Chris-Chan had made sockpuppet accounts. She did this because she wanted to win in the Chop Chop Master Onion's Rap Showdown which is a promotional contest for the PSP re-release of Parappa the Rapper where contestants were to film themselves performing either Chop Chop Master Onion's rap, Instructor Mooselini's rap, or Cheap Cheap the Cooking Chicken's rap acapella. As soon as she shows her Chop Chop Master Onion's rap showdown, Chris asked many people to vote for it so that she might have a higher chance of winning. She even went as far as to use sockpuppet accounts for ballot stuffing, which is, of course, cheating. When Adam Stackhouse won for his and his sister's performance of Cheap Cheap the Cooking Chicken's rap, she became a sore loser. She made a fake webpage designed to show herself as being the true winner, before going around various PSN News posts, leaving comments attempting to convince others that she is the winner and did a lot of bad things. And yes, this is the same Chris-Chan who created the infamous Sonichu.
A YouTuber named Mariotehplumber managed to be a sock puppet at the Sega forums. Originally under the alias of Sonic 1, he got banned for constantly whining and trolling the Sonic community. After his banned, he made sockpuppet accounts such as My Shoes, Son Goku, Sonic Henkai, etc. This lead Sega finally banned him to prevent him from creating multiple accounts. He created a Sega HD account to bribe money to Sega to unban him.