The Youtube Sockpuppets Project

The Youtube Sockpuppets Project seeks to find out if politicians and other groups are using fake accounts to comment on that site's videos.

The term "sockpuppets" (see the link) refers to fake user accounts designed to mask someone's affiliation, promote something as if it's more popular than it is, and so on. I've long suspected that some comments left on certain political videos were from one person or group controlling several fake accounts.

In the case of Youtube, someone who signed up years ago or just recently and who has no or few uploads is more likely to be a sockpuppet than someone who has a decent number of uploads and subscribers. That doesn't mean that someone who signed up yesterday is necessarily a sockpuppet, just that it's more likely in their case than in the case of someone who's uploaded several non-trivial videos.

I don't have a formula to tell if someone is or isn't a sockpuppet, but what I'll be doing is uploading raw data that others are encouraged to analyze for patterns. Links to that raw data in Google spreadsheets will be listed below, and you're encouraged to review that data, create new spreadsheets and charts based on it, and so on. This post will be updated as new data is available. Please bear in mind that the purpose is to simply look at aggregate data and look for trends, not focus on specific Youtube users or accuse them of being sockpuppets.

Title: "We've Heard it All Before - Obama for America Television Ad"
Date: Jun 4, 2012
View count: 2,166,159
Comment count: 56
Spreadsheet: link

Title: "Apologies and Clarifications" (video from the ChickFilA drivethru guy)
Date: Aug 3, 2012
View count: 192,961
Comment count: 7238
Spreadsheet: link
Note: only the first 976 comments were analyzed, from 386 accounts. The effort by the Tea Parties and rightwing bloggers to blow this incident incredibly out of proportion might be a realization that simply relying on fiscal conservatives isn't going to elect Mitt Romney, social conservatives have to be motivated too.

Title: Sheboygan Lutheran High School Visits the Solidarity Sing Along
Date: Mar 16, 2012
View count: 60,300
Comment count: 263
Spreadsheet: link
Note: a pro-Scott Walker video

Title: The Hope And The Change - Official Movie Trailer
Date: Aug 21, 2012
View count: 48,078
Comment count: 88
Spreadsheet: link
Note: anti-Obama video by citizensunited07 (Citizens United)