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BP Hired Company To Troll Users Who Left Critical Comments 263

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-you-see-why-people-love-oil-companies dept.
An anonymous reader sends this news from Al-Jazeera: "BP has been accused of hiring internet 'trolls' to purposefully attack, harass, and sometimes threaten people who have been critical of how the oil giant has handled its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened. ... BP's 'astroturfing' efforts and use of 'trolls' have been reported as pursuing users' personal information, then tracking and posting IP addresses of users, contacting their employers, threatening to contact family members, and using photos of critics' family members to create false Facebook profiles, and even threatening to affect the potential outcome of individual compensation claims against BP."
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BP Hired Company To Troll Users Who Left Critical Comments

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @06:50PM (#45477069)

    "Reputation managers" (Aka professional lairs) are everywhere. You'll see a lot of them here on slashdot. Remember all those copy-pasted shill posts apologizing for windows 8? That was a riot. Those key phrases and talking points stick out like a sore thumb.

  • Re:A waste of time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @07:04PM (#45477209) Homepage Journal

    They should have spent it on coming up with more ways of saying "We're sorry".

    While that makes the greater sense, where's the fun in doing the right thing, when you can do amazingly wrong things and then get caught, try to cover your ass and then hire yet-another company to harass your detractors?

    The Internet - Not just for constructive collaboration anymore.

  • by NotFamous (827147) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @07:05PM (#45477213) Homepage Journal

    Same group, so they mostly get overtime pay.

  • by sconeu (64226) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @07:11PM (#45477243) Homepage Journal

    They did the last part themselves, anyways.

  • Really, dude? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Okian Warrior (537106) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @07:11PM (#45477251) Homepage Journal

    "the single largest environmental disaster in U.S. history."

    The oil spill did not happen in the United States. It happened in International Waters under the supervision of a British petroleum company.

    Really dude? Is this important?

    Is there some official administrative "stamp" of accuracy for environmental disasters? Is there some "office of deflecting bad opinion" that is responsible for keeping people accurate?

    This sounds *exactly* like something a paid troll would say. "Ya know, Vietnam wasn't really a war" and such-like.

    Your statement only serves to defuse public outrage. It helps those responsible avoid and minimize any sense of responsibility to the public. We should be holding their feet to the fire, not looking for ways to find the situation acceptable.

    And to be more clearly on point, the drilling was overseen by the Minerals Management Service [federalregister.gov], a federal agency responsible for the safety protocols of the drilling at the time, and whose failure allowed the accident to happen. It was very much a US disaster.

  • by WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @07:23PM (#45477317)

    single largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

    But the summary didn't say "U.S. waters" or "U.S. territory". It said "U.S. history". Regardless where it took place, with 11 Americans dead, millions more affected, and criminal convictions in US courts, it was a huge part of US history.

  • by Sowelu (713889) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @07:32PM (#45477375)

    Burning karma in hopes that a 6 year old, moderately active account will dispel accusations of "shill":

    I'm most certainly no friend of BP's, but the evidence presented in the story really is not that compelling. People on the internet are huge dicks even without being paid to do it, and some people have a lot of time on their hands. Maybe some of them are family of BP workers, or grunt paper shufflers in the company, or just assholes, but none of the evidence seems worthy of this headline.

    Intriguing, worth looking into? Sure. But if your headline is "BP did this" instead of "BP accused of this", you need a hell of a lot better documentation.

    Alarmism helps no one.

  • GOOD FOR THEM!! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @07:37PM (#45477425)

    BP's 'astroturfing' efforts and use of 'trolls' have been reported as pursuing users' personal information, then tracking and posting IP addresses of users, contacting their employers, threatening to contact family members, and using photos of critics' family members to create false Facebook profiles, and even threatening to affect the potential outcome of individual compensation claims against BP.

    - Using Facebook
    - Using your real name on Facebook
    - Using your real name anywhere on the Internet
    - Posting personal information and pictures of yourself and family on the Internet

    You get what you deserve.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @09:10PM (#45478087)

    Al Jazeera is one of the most credible news sources around, and yes you prove Slashdot has plenty of fools.

  • by madprof (4723) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @09:35PM (#45478243)

    The BBC pay for people to support it on the Internet? Why would they do that? The only people they have to convince that they are doing a good job are government ministers who set the licence fee amount.

  • Re:Dream job (Score:4, Insightful)

    by erikkemperman (252014) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @04:54AM (#45479595)

    Ah, yes: +5, Informative. This is the /. I know and love.
    I fart in your general direction!

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

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