Abstract: Manipulation and persuasion techniques have already evolved, when used in the internet reality. In order to be more effective, they are transformed in a very peculiar forms, using all kinds of tools and channels. The article investigates and analyses verbal and rhetorical techniques of public opinion manipulation, used by the paid political commenting users online, called “trolls”. The analysis focusesupon the trolling, manifested in two different in opinion online media sites– Dnevnik and PIK.bg, covering two events in 2015 – The Gurmen conflict (happened on 23.05.2015) and The Orlandovsti clash (13.05.2015). Summoning Bulgarian ethnic stereotypes plus the approaching elections time and the lack of reasonable explanation of the conflicts are the reasons, which made the author’s desire to analyze the case. The analysis will concentrate on the usage of argumentum ad hominem, ad baculum, ad populum, appeal to sympathy, as well as the manifestation of different rhetorical tropes, figures of speech and syllogisms and enthymemes. The aim is to be created a profile of the paid troll using only his way of writing. Also the author wants to prove that critcal reading what’s posted online will prevent netizens from falling into manipulative traps, set by the political parties.
Keywords: paid trolls, online communication, rhetorical techniques, manipulation, rhetorical arguments, media.
Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 19, October 2015, rhetoric.bg/, journal.rhetoric.bg, ISSN 1314-4464