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06.09.13

Microsoft Crime Persists: AstroTurfing a Regular Practice, Reddit Full of Paid Microsoft AstroTurfers

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 10:42 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]

Summary: Infiltrating social networks is one of Microsoft’s strategic operations and this brings back older evidence, complementing the new

Several years ago I complained that Reddit had been filled with Microsoft influence [1, 2], similar to what happened to Digg [1, 2] and Slashdot [1, 2, 3, 4]. Well, Microsoft has just been caught AstroTurfing through proxies again. For a criminal company which tries to legitimise racketeering, this is actually a relatively minor offence, but still, it should be noted.

Microsoft’s AstroTurfing on the Web is nothing new and Microsoft’s shadowy PR agencies are, as usual, are managing it. Microsoft did this with Nokia too, Nokia being the proxy at the time (Nokia is also a patents proxy).

As for the evidence of the latest claims, here it is:

Looks like Microsoft just got busted for doing something on Reddit that is a big no-no, according to a Redditor that goes by the name “mistysilver.”

Representatives of Microsoft may be hanging out on the social news site voting up positive comments about the Xbox One, voting down negative comments and adding pro-Xbox comments of their own, Misty Silver says.

Misty Silver didn’t reveal his/her real identity, except to say. “I work for a marketing firm in Redmond that has a contract with Microsoft. I can’t say specifically which division, but suffice to say we are not involved with the Xbox.”

I have been a victim of systematic down-voting, demonisation, identity theft etc. in Digg and elsewhere. Now we know for a fact that Microsoft hires people to do such things. Xbox is a rogue product which significantly harms privacy and consumers' rights (we correctly called the coverage fake hype and paid-for nonsense; to give one example, “[s]hifting the blame from Microsoft” is what iophk calls this latest odd piece), boosted by illegal practices that the FTC said it would go after (but never really did, it was just a face-saving announcement).

“We asked Microsoft for comment on if they have people on their payroll using Reddit,” says the report. This question is asked improperly because Microsoft uses its many proxies to hire the AstroTurfers, as we repeatedly demonstrated before. Microsoft can try to deny using a cleverly-worded reply. “They won’t use their own payroll,” iophk pointed out. “It will be a contractor or sub contractor or subsub contractor etc” (we covered this before).

“Barkto taught them to have a layer of separation,” iophk added. We wrote about Barkto in [1, 2].

Gates and Ballmer, with the two operations they run for patent profiteering, do not do the illegal directly. Their PR department is not inside Microsoft, either. It is just like Intellectual Ventures. When you break the law you always try to obfuscate and remove yourself from a position of accountability. The thing about those thugs is, their “Communications” (PR) heads are often hired from one of these proxies, like Waggener Edstrom (also working to hide or rewrite the scams of the Gates Foundation).

Those who like Canonical can pretend that Microsoft has changed [1, 2, 3, 4] are doing everyone a massive disservice, helping to lend credibility to what clearly remains a criminal enterprise where ordinary people get abused and accomplices share a loot with Ballmer, Gates, and the rest of this legendary Mafia. If you had been on the receiving end of their attacks, you too would understand how serious this whole matter is and why federal action is needed. The FTC hardly did a thing when I filed formal complaints about these abuses by Microsoft; the FTC is there to serve corporations (as in rich managers and shareholders), not people. This means that nobody is regulating against AstroTurfing, not in the land of PRISM anyway.

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A Single Comment

  1. George Hostler said,

    June 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy Schestowitz wrote: “I have been a victim of systematic down-voting, demonisation, identity theft etc. in Digg and elsewhere. Now we know for a fact that Microsoft hires people to do such things.”

    Roy, those are despicable acts, no doubts. Shilling is nothing new, even goes back to the days of the Studebaker Corporation and Tucker Automobiles. Said of Tucker, there were radio announcements that it didn’t even have a transmission reverse gear, FUD was spread to the extent Tucker was unfairly eliminated from the competition.

    I read that link you provided called “Microsoft Internal Document”, the Comes (Iowa Attorney General) versus Microsoft Corp. lawsuit, Plaintiff Exhibit 3096. It states,

    8: The Slog Guerilla marketing is often a long, hard slog…. Our mission is to establish Microsoft’s platforms as the de facto standards throughout the computer industry…. Working behind the scenes to orchestrate independent praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog…. Gathering intelligence on enemy activities is critical to the success of the Slog. We need to know who their allies are and what differences exist between them and their allies (there are always sources of tension between allies), so that we can find ways to split ‘em apart. Reading the trade press, lurking on newsgroups…

    The coup de grâce:

    11: Mopping Up Mopping Up can be a lot of fun. In the Mopping Up phase, Evangelism’s goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology’s coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the earth. Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2″; Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.

    How to Get Your Platform Accepted as a Standard -Microsoft Style

    I am glad that the Linux based Android and Chrome distros have gained momentum over Microsoft products. This is fair competition in action. The acts of astroturfing and harming competition regardless of the means is not.

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