Centre for the Analysis of Social Policy

Strategic identity management in cyberspace (sock puppets)


Principal Investiagtor: David Miller

Funder: EPSRC

Duration: June 2012 - March 2013


Project rationale and aims

Departmental themes
Institute for Policy Research themes

This project will examine the strategic use and management of identities online by social interests including government, corporate and civil society actors. In particular it will examine the phenomenon of the ‘Sock Puppet’ – the use of false identities to promote or undermine products or policies. Given the novel nature of the ‘sock puppet’ (the term was coined only in 1993) the project seeks to bring established interdisciplinary expertise to bear. The intention is to provide significant new evidence on the use of sock puppets and contribute significantly to debates on how to respond to them at a variety of academic and policy levels.

Objectives Include:

  • To examine the specific cyber component of the phenomenon and how this is distinct from traditional Public Relations techniques
  • Take key case studies including Wikipedia, terrorism, religious groups, climate change, and tobacco/smoking
  • Examine the ethical use of ‘managed identities’ online
  • To develop policy guidance on how to deal with and respond to sock puppets and guidance of ISPs on monitoring and regulating sock puppets

Find out more about this project

Name: Prof David Miller
Title: Professor
Department: Dept of Social and Policy Sciences
Location: 3 East 3.29
E-mail: d.miller@bath.ac.uk
Phone: work+44 (0) 1225 385968