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11.05.09

Are Microsoft Employees (Technical Evangelists) Using Spammers in Twitter?

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 8:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft “technical evangelist” (euphemism for AstroTurfer on the company’s payroll) appears to be operating some kind of bot programme that smears Boycott Novell

A CERTAIN pattern has gone on for far too long to be ignored. The target is Boycott Novell, so it ought to be finally brought up.

For those who require some background, we wrote about the subject several months ago when it had heated up greatly. We wrote about this in:

To tell the story very briefly, a Microsoft “technical evangelist” (TE) [1, 2, 3, 4] called Jonathan Wong came to this site with some “perception management” [1, 2], never revealing that he was a Microsoft employee until after he had been exposed. Then he wrote a post against us, quoting known anti-GNU/Linux people as a source of supposedly disgruntled people who have a problem with Boycott Novell. That was months ago. Since then, about a hundred times or more and almost at regular intervals, some Twitter accounts have been boosting his post. Here is an example just from the past few days:

Twitter results

See the similarity of the twits and the weird account names. In one case, two different accounts have the exact same avatar. This stream of twits has been going on like this for months. Those twits always come from accounts without a description and not a single person is following anyone else, which makes the characteristic of some kind of bot accounts. Jonathan Wong describes himself as “… a social media aficionado who loves to use social media tools to procrastinate optimize his own personal information stream.” Maybe this is why Microsoft hired him.

More on Microsoft in Twitter

  1. More Microsoft AstroTurfing (aka ‘Technical Evangelism’) in Twitter
  2. User “Microsoft Incentives” Wants to be Your Friend, Too
  3. Microsoft’s Twitter AstroTurf Continues
  4. Who is Pumping MSFT and Pimping Microsoft in Twitter?
  5. Microsoft Hires Federated Media for Twitter AstroTurfing
  6. Does Microsoft Still Create Twitter Accounts for Guerilla Marketing?
  7. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  8. Microsoft Twitter Bots, FTC Blowback, and Paid-for Vista 7 Glorification
  9. Microsoft Feeds Hundreds of Korean Bloggers to Promote Vista 7
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4 Comments

  1. dyfet said,

    November 5, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Gravatar

    I also noticed someone systematically votes every article a 1. This site may at times be irreverent, and certainly it is not a style I would have personally chosen, but I am also so very glad we (the community) have this resource and that Roy has provided it for us.

  2. your_friend said,

    November 5, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Gravatar

    It looks like Microsoft is trying to create a false impression of free software negativity about Boycott Novell. Astroturfers have filled Ubuntu forums and other places with troll posts and have created collections of their own nonsense to link farm as Wong or one of his TE friends has. You’ve obviously caught some spambots and “The Currious Case of the Armchair Theorist” has been pushed up to the third Google result for “Boycott Novell”. The second result is some smear article about a “den of paranoia.” The fifth result a FSD point to an interview that comments accuse of being an attack. There are other results on the first page that talk about “hatred” and other things. Someone that was unaware of this astroturf and link farming might form a negative opinion of Boycott Novell.

    You should sue Microsoft for this. Wong can claim to not be the spammer but that is irrelevant if another TE is doing the spammning. Microsoft seems to once again have been caught paying people to libel and may have done much more. A good lawyer could build a case to track down the identities of the above spambots and get the appropriate warrant in the US. If the bots point back to Microsoft, or some PR firm under their direction, a solid libel case can be built against the guilty party. A damaging lie has been built by selective quoting, publication and dishonest promotion of those publications. In any economy, that kind of nonsense can mean the difference between a good start to a career and ruin. In a down economy it is even more damaging. Ralph Nader started his career as a public advocate through a similar slip up on the part of the now bankrupt GM.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The case of Fox versus Van Jones is an interesting one.

  3. uberVU - social comments said,

    November 5, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by ealexhudson: #boycottboy gazes into tealeaves, sees pattern: http://tiny.cc/2u8Kr I took 2mn to check each a/c, all valid – quelle surprise. D’oh!…

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