EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.20.09

More Microsoft AstroTurfing (aka ‘Technical Evangelism’) in Twitter

Posted in Deception, FUD, Marketing, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 10:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Crazy face

Summary: Kirk Evans is given as an example of Microsoft guerrilla marketing in Twitter

“Microsoft stalkers,” called them our source, whose account was addressed by a Microsoft “Technical Evangelist”. That’s exactly the type of people whom James Plamondon was training in order to promote Microsoft very aggressively, to this very date.

Let’s step back just a bit and see the example we have at hand. Our source writes:

Having read Microsoft’s IE8: Get The Facts website I posted on our Twitter channel that I’d seen it and thought is was priceless FUD.

Within minutes I got a Microsoft employee following us on Twitter and requesting that Sirius e-mail him to discuss “discuss IE8 opptys” (whatever that means).

See http://twitter.com/kaevans

The MS person responsible is Kirk Evans, an architecture evangelist based in Texas. Note the wallpaper on his Twitter channel is a pile of horse shit.

I’m intrigued to say the least. What’s the horse shit all about? Why should an architecture evangelist care about us pointing out what 90% of the tech industry already knows? The question is, is he approaching every person who criticises this new IE: Get The Facts website?

His Twitter channel includes gems such as:

“Laughing at the slander against #IE8 and the #GetTheFacts site http://tinyurl.com/mj38ly all bile, no substance. Truth hurts.”

This is full on, aggressive technology evangelism/indoctrination where Microsoft ‘evangelists’ are employed to use Twitter et al to silence critics.

Whilst I’m quite keen to reply to him (just for the fun of it) I’m a little concerned that my ‘card will be marked’.

Microsoft does not deny using Twitter to do its PR, marketing, AstroTurfing, evangelism or whatever they wish to call it (many euphemisms exist and Orwellian language is a spinner’s best friend). We wrote about this type of activity from Microsoft at Twitter in:

Based on experience, those who routinely write about Microsoft products (i.e. mention the company’s name or product names) tend to sooner or later be followed or pinged somehow. Microsoft wants these people on its side. One of our readers, Goblin, has experimented to show this empirically. Some of the potential Microsoft bots/AstroTurfers appear to be mass-twitting the same promotional or provocative messages. They defame Microsoft’s competition and promote Microsoft for the most part.

This account is a good example, but shortly after I had complained about it for abuse (identical, abrasive messages sent to many strangers separately) it started saying “This person has protected their updates.”

Dodgy.

“Microsoft is connected to partners via Twitter and it uses PR agencies to do much/all this work.”As examples in the posts above show, I have had what seems like Microsoft bots following me (to be fair, other companies use similar tactics of re-Twitting messages about their products). The same goes for Microsoft managers like Oliver Bell, who apparently wants to keep an eye on what I write about OOXML, which is his area. He also speaks about Boycott Novell in person.

Microsoft is connected to partners via Twitter and it uses PR agencies to do much/all this work. That distances the dirty tactics from the company this way, leaving itself less sensitive to scrutiny.

Microsoft’s PR department (Waggener Edstrom) has already developed new tools to spy on Twits — to then respond to them appropriately. It’s not just a Twitter thing, but this in general is how Microsoft manages to identify damaging posts/articles and intercept them quickly, before people notice. A recent example would be a negative Surface review that they had removed very quickly by phoning the blogger.

Microsoft has always done such things (The Inquirer in particular dares to blow the whistle on censorship attempts and bribes), but with Twitter it is a lot more visible for people to see because the equivalent of E-mail is made public. The anti-ODF campaign from Microsoft is a good example where Twits said a mouthful about what the company has been doing. See the most recent examples in:

If people wish to see how aggressively –and that’s putting it gently — Microsoft competes, Twitter may be an entertaining read. With the intrusion of marketing scum like Pay2Tweet, the death of the platform’s inherent trust may be imminent. Twitter already declines in terms of traffic, like all other Web sites which get hijacked by marketing agents who seize an opportunity.

Related:

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

7 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    June 20, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Gravatar

    Hasn’t approached me or anyone else I got it from or who retweeted me. Mind you, we did post it as Microsoft comedy. Along with the one where IE8 trashes boot.ini.

    Roy Bixler Reply:

    Speaking of IE8 fun, here’s a nice spoof:

    Windows Internet Explorer 8; Get the Facts STRAIGHT
    http://kilianvalkhof.com/ie8fun/

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    June 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Gravatar

    BTW, this is IMO a good time to discuss this from :
    “[J]ust about every PR firm offers to help “manage the perception of your company in online communities” these days. What do you think that means? Astroturfing Slashdot, Youtube, etc.”
    That shows a fundamental flaw in PR. It is that perception can be manipulated independently of the truth.

  3. Chips B Malroy said,

    June 21, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Gravatar

    Yuhong Bao said:
    “Just about every PR firm offers to help “manage the perception of your company in online communities” these days”
    ——————————————————————————————————–
    Now while there could be a lot of truth or wisdom to what Yuhong has to say, I’ve yet to see a company that has employed “managed perception” to the degree that M$ has, or even anywhere close to it. The fact that the “shills” come out of the woodwork to defend IE8, is in itself a clue to the thinking of the higher ups at M$. What forum online do you not see them in?

    IE, this was the product to kill the competition, Netscape, for all time. IE, this was the product that was going let them install all sorts of multimedia extension “standards” like wma, and others. It would in time turn the internet into just another M$ software purchase. The web would run entirely on M$ patented and copyrighted software, if Gates and Ball
    mer’s dream came though. Too bad for them that Netscape’s death spawned Firefox, and good for the rest of us.

    The only people that use IE are those who do not know better, or pretend to (M$ Shills). I hope the EU does everyone a favor and makes M$ totally remove this malware target from the next version of windows.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    We have reasons to suspect that Yuhong too is among those “shills”, so he is trying to justify it. See this and this from last night.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    BTW, I am a student from Shorewood High School from Shoreline, but that IRC chat was a lot of fun for me. I learned a lot about MS shills, was able to get two people’s opinion on whether I am a shill or not, and some more. It was very interesting.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    I do agree that MS is the worst and most unethical in this area.

What Else is New


  1. Links 25/10/2020: Kodi 18.9, ScummVM Android Love, Cutelyst 2.13

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] Captain Zemlin and Neil McGovern's Ugly Legacy in GNOME (His Predecessors Work for Microsoft Directly Now)

    The Linux Foundation is already ‘sold’ and Microsoft Tim‘s interview with Neil McGovern, published a few days ago, was rather revealing (comments on the article/interview were also harsh)



  3. How Microsoft is Still Worse Than Google

    "I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage."



  4. 'President Bill Gates' Wants to Punish Not Only Google After Using “Extensions” to the Web to Reinforce Microsoft's Monopoly (Antitrust Violations Are a Microsoft Thing)

    In gross distortion of facts and of history and in a rather incredible fashion (very shameless and insulting) the corporate media tries to paint Bill Gates as an antitrust hero that will save the world from monopolies



  5. Donald Trump Helped Bill Gates Increase His Wealth by More Than 50%, Especially During the Pandemic

    Contrary to ridiculous narratives disseminated by nutty accounts all around the Web, Gates and Trump are no foes but 'partners in crime'



  6. Our 14th Birthday is Coming

    We're turning 14 shortly and we need ideas from readers (things that can be done to mark the event and celebrate 'on-line')



  7. In Spite of IBM's Difficult Past and Particularly Dark History, Under Arvind Krishna’s Leadership It Has Only Shown Signs of Improving

    This winter, 6 months after Arvind Krishna’s tenure as CEO began, we can generally say that things seem to have improved and we look forward to further improvements



  8. Links 25/10/2020: GNU Taler's IETF Milestone, RISC OS 5.28 and New Ubuntu Community Council

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 24, 2020



  10. Links 24/10/2020: GDB 10.1, Kodachi 7.4, Wine 5.20

    Links for the day



  11. Celebrating Code of Conduct Violations

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  12. The Militarised Elephant in the Room Still Commands a Lot of Free Software Development

    We take a difficult (albeit in-depth and perfectly factual) look at IBM's past and present; considering this is the company that controls Red Hat (which in turn controls many key projects in GNU/Linux) we need a better understanding of the real context, not PR fluff and marketing



  13. Juve Patent's Love of Patent Trolls and Their Misinformation

    The press 'gutter' known as Juve (basically propaganda disguised as 'news' since years ago) has gotten to the point where the publisher is just an extension of lawyers and liars



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, October 23, 2020



  15. Look How Many Tux I Give!

    "Long live rms, long live (Hyperbola) GNU/BSD, and happy hacking."



  16. Embrace, Extend, and Extensions: Two New Reasons to Delete GitHub, Which Microsoft Ruined for Everyone (Except the Copyright Cartel and Other Censors)

    GitHub is being turned into a garbage dump with malicious masters (or monsters, or mobsters); many people are denied access for using the 'wrong' browser and developers/projects are being censored (not for doing anything wrong or illegal, either)



  17. [Meme] When EPO Staff Claims to be 'Ill' or 'Sick'... During a Pandemic's European Peak

    Gotta check and verify that those 'lazy' EPO examiners aren't just faking being ill (in order to not meet "production" targets)



  18. The EPO Has Relegated or Lowered Itself to Extremely Poor Standards

    Today's EPO continues to reaffirm the image of global weakness; having failed to improve the working conditions and quality of the work (its actions did the exact opposite), it's nowadays begging China to send over lots of workload irrespective of quality or merit and it is outsourcing the functions of the Office to the United States



  19. Links 23/10/2020: Turing Pi 2, GNU Parallel 20201022

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 22, 2020



  21. Links 23/10/2020: 'Groovy Gorilla' Everywhere in the News

    Links for the day



  22. For Better 'Tech Rights' in the United States (and the World at Large) the 'Orange Man' Needs to Go

    With less than a fortnight before election day we explain our stance from a purely tech-related rationale



  23. [Meme] Microsoft Never 'Brought' Skype to GNU/Linux (It Just Bought Skype) and It Never 'Brought' Edge to GNU/Linux Either (Google Did)

    Foolish media or gullible 'journalists' are giving Microsoft credit for other people's work; this isn't the first time either, but it helps perpetuate lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" (so who cares about facts anyway?)



  24. It's Going to be a Long, Long Winter

    Today we revert back to lock-down mode; we're reflecting and pondering what comes next



  25. TechRadar is an Irresponsible Clickbait and Misinformation Site Disguised as 'News'

    TechRadar is no tech and no radar, either. It's just an opportunistic click-harvesting machine, disguised as a source of "news"; today we deal with the latest example (among many).



  26. Links 22/10/2020: LibreOffice 6.4.7, Septor 2020.5, Ubuntu 20.10 Released, FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 21, 2020



  28. Living Humbly (With Older Technology or None) is More Compatible With Privacy- and Freedom-Respecting Technological Lifestyle

    Simplicity sometimes trumps so-called 'novelty', especially when it comes to human rights and users' freedom



  29. Reasons Why You (and Everybody Else) Should Join the Fight for Software Freedom

    Society is being closely watched and controlled (more so during/after the latest pandemic) and people must carefully consider the true importance of resisting proprietary technology (controlled remotely by state actors)



  30. Ways and Means to Reduce One's Dependency on Google's Various Monopolies and Near-Monopolies

    Getting rid of Google means a lot more than embracing DumbDumbGo (DDG) or some other sites that spy just like Google; we're taking stock of some options


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts