Influence-for-hire refers to the economy that has emerged around buying and selling influence on social media platforms.[1]


Companies that engage in the influence-for-hire industry range from content farms to high end public relations agencies. Traditionally influence operations have largely been confined to public sector actors like intelligence agencies, in the influence-for-hire industry the groups conduction the operations are private with commerce being their primary consideration. However many of the clients in the influence-for-hire industry are countries or countries acting through proxies.[1] They are often located in countries with less expensive digital labor.[2]


In May 2021, Facebook took a Ukrainian influence-for-hire network offline. Facebook attributed the network to organizations and consultants linked to Ukrainian politicians including Andriy Derkach.[3][4]

During the COVID-19 pandemic state sponsored misinformation was spread through influence-for-hire networks.[5]

In August 2021, a report published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute implicated the Chinese government and the ruling Chinese Communist Party in campaigns of online manipulation conducted against Australia and Taiwan using influence-for-hire.[6][7][8][9]

See also


  1. ^ a b Wallace, Jacob; Boggle, Ariel; Zhang, Albert; Mansour, Hillary. "Influence for hire. The Asia-Pacific's online shadow economy". ASPI. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  2. ^ KIPAROIDZE, MARIAM. "'Influence for hire' networks are manipulating online discussions throughout the Asia Pacific region". Coda Story. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  3. ^ Culliford, Elizabeth. "Facebook Removes Ukraine Political 'Influence-For-Hire' Network". US News. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  4. ^ Somerville, Hannah. "Ukrainian MP blasts 'hysterical' Facebook after influence network busted". Euro News. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  5. ^ Mansour, Hillary; Nkwanyana, Khwezi; Page, Matthew. "The threat spectrum". ASPI. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  6. ^ Gibson, Liam. "CCP outsourcing propaganda campaigns to content farms in Taiwan and Australia: Think tank". Taiwan News. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  7. ^ Galloway, Anthony. "Growing online 'influence-for-hire' economy opens door for foreign interference: report". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  8. ^ Barbaschow, Asha. "ASPI suggests government work with platforms to fight disinformation for hire". ZDNet. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  9. ^ Rae, Marion. "China hides behind hackers for hire: study". The West Australian. Retrieved 14 August 2021.