Corporate PR Firms Shutting Down Online Activism

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Recently lobbyists are being hired by large corporations to squash public opinions and crack down on "insurgency tactics" which is basically anyone who speaks ill of a large corporation. 

"In recent years, the lobbying game has changed thanks to social media websites, citizen journalism (described by one lobbyist as “a major irritant”), and online petitions capable of getting millions of signatures in a matter of hours. Among the lobbyists affected by this shift is James Bethell, whose firm, Westbourne Communications, is in the business of fighting back against what it calls the “insurgency tactics” of online campaigners ("insurgency" here meaning "having a negative opinion and a blog/Twitter account" rather than actual guerrilla warfare)."

"BP, for example, was found to have been manipulating Google in the wake of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico—the company appears to have been attempting to get its message (“Learn more about how BP is helping”) at the top of Google searches relating to the spill. NGOs and affected communities without the resources of the oil giant were therefore blocked from getting their message (“Look how badly BP has fucked us”) across."

Article from Vice 

"There are now hundreds of companies offering to manipulate Google search results to make finding negative information about them all but impossible. A promotional video for one such company, Reputation Changer, promises to make criticism “disappear.” This is done by creating new, positive content that fools search engines into pushing the “dummy” content above the negative, driving the output of critics down the Google rankings (relying on the fact that few of us click beyond the first page of results)."


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