Federal Trade Commission Should Launch Legal Action Against Microsoft Over Bribes to Bloggers in Exchange for Coverage
“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
Summary: Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to do nothing, as usual, even through there is overwhelming evidence that Microsoft breaks the law by bribing journalists and bloggers, not just government officials
THE FTC promised to fight bribery of bloggers, but it never really did anything (not a single action that we are aware of). A cynic may simply conclude that there are face-saving laws and rules, but they are not being enforced against criminal enterprises like Microsoft, which habitually engages in AstroTurfing, even in Wikipedia [1, 2, 3] which now bans it and demands disclosure of payments. Microsoft’s PR agencies do this too (they are void of ethics just like Microsoft and some literally emanate from inside Microsoft), not just moles whom Microsoft pays secretly. Microsoft has been bribing bloggers and journalists (with laptops) in exchange for positive reviews of operating systems and nothing is improving these days because Microsoft is paying people to comment in Reddit (now owned by the Microsoft-friendly Condé Nasty), maybe even to misuse moderation to ban opposing views or to submit stories. Microsoft got caught doing this just months ago and there was a similar abuse involving bribed-for YouTube placements (bribing vloggers).
Microsoft is a criminal company and criminals don’t obey laws. After Condé Nasty took over Reddit the site began advertising (in the content section) the most NSA-friendly Web browser (many back doors with new ones every month, enabling whole OS capture due to illegal integration/bundling), probably in exchange for a lot of money. It is a form of AstroTurfing, distorting and ultimately derailing the editorial process.
Well, Microsoft has just been caught bribing bloggers to covertly advertise the most NSA-friendly Web browser (Internet Explorer of course). The pushback actually came from Michael Arrington almost a decade after Arrington had played along with Microsoft and got caught (and shamed for it, losing a lot of credibility). Arrington blew the whistle, but Microsoft lies to him (and his readers) by claiming it had nothing to do with it (see the update). is Microsoft trying to distance itself from it all, but now we finally know Arrington was right all along:
Why in the world is Microsoft (through an agency) trying pay bloggers to write about Internet Explorer? Do people still do this? And given my position on paid posts, why would they think I’d be willing to participate?
This is just layers of stupid.
Here’s the link in the request below. Here’s the hashtag (#IEbloggers) that they’re requesting people use, so I’m guessing anyone using that is getting paid.
Arrington once agreed to do the “people-ready” Microsoft propaganda, embedded in articles for some Microsoft cash (hence a violation, as per the FTC’s rules). Microsoft could not escape such scandals, later confirming — implicitly — that it was definitely something Microsoft was behind. Even a site that serves Microsoft propaganda very routinely has covered it. Here is a quote: “Microsoft Internet Explorer officials are attempting to distance themselves from a paid social-media effort by an advocate marketing company meant to promote Microsoft’s IE browser.”
Coming from ZDNet this is quite grand because the site was paid by Microsoft to become its propaganda mill (we exposed this numerous times in the past).
What can people do? Well, given that the FTC won’t do anything (highly unlikely), people should boycott Microsoft and urge journalists ban Microsoft from various circles of the media, not just from procurement.
Microsoft is run by the same unethical thugs, even if the public face (CEO) has changed. People who don’t wish to reward criminals should pay not a penny to Microsoft. █