The 50 Cent Party is an officially acknowledged army of hundreds of thousands of Chinese web users paid by the Communist Party of China to "assert supremacy over online public opinion" by flooding the internet with excessively pro-Communist Party (and anti-dissent) rhetoric. The group is most identifiable when an article or blog post about China suddenly receives masses of curious comments from new users insisting that China is one of the best places on Earth for human rights, or other such oddness. They primarily target Chinese websites and domestic web users, but many suspect they've seen the group's work on English-language websites as well.
That is the case with TIME's "Most Influential" Poll and its entry for Ai Weiwei, the internationally famous Chinese artist and activist whose whereabouts are now unknown, in the custody of Chinese police. But TIME has an odd formula for how it counts people as influential. As long as more than 50% of votes are for "influental," then all votes — influential and not — are combined to rate the person's influence. So if supporters are able to just barely register more votes than the 50 Cent Party, then all of the 50 Cent Party's efforts will backfire as he becomes twice as influential as he would have been if they had not voted at all. So don't just vote, but tweet it, Facebook it and spread it around.
If you don't know much about Ai, here are some links:
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