Facebook's 'oppo research' shop also used by Qualcomm to diss Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg still can't tell who hired them
"Oppo research." This magical phrase has been coined to dress up sanctioned character assassination and has been a staple of American politics since time immemorial. Hurling borderline crazy accusations towards your opponent aimed to sway voters that don't care enough or don't have time to research the matter themselves is a time-honored tradition, but it has also wiggled its way into business practices.
When an investigation
into Facebook's conduct during the tumultuous years since the 2016 presidential election revealed that it has tasked a lobbying group to deflect the negative attention in Washington towards its processes, the company said it has immediately severed ties.
Moreover, the CEO Mark Zuckerberg said yesterday that he has no idea who hired the Arlington-based "oppo research" boiler room Definers. Among the tactics employed by Definers were exposing the funding of the "Freedom from Facebook" organization as coming from George Soros, on which Facebook commented in a blog post
The intention was to demonstrate that it was not simply a spontaneous grassroots campaign, as it claimed, but supported by a well-known critic of our company. To suggest that this was an anti-Semitic attack is reprehensible and untrue.
Deflecting negative attention towards Silicon Valley juggernauts other than their clients seems to be a well-established service offered by Definers, as the company was reportedly
doing the same for Qualcomm
in its patent spat with Apple
. According to Definers' Tim Miller the point of their efforts is to "have positive content pushed out about your company and negative content that's being pushed out about your competitor
Good old-fashioned American oppo research that the big tech companies are now learning from the best in Washington, it seems. Oh, and about that ban on iPhones
Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there’s been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us. And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world.