British Petroleum Uses Online Trolls
BP is accused of hiring Internet trolls to attack and threaten people who are discontent with the way the company has handled the spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It turned out that after the single largest environmental disaster in American history, the oil giant hired PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run a BP US Facebook page.The Facebook page was supposed to encourage interaction with the oil giant, but after people posted anti-BP comments there, they were attacked, bullied, and even directly threatened. One of the anonymous posters named “Marie” has recently produced boxes of documents and research data that prove the people harassing BP’s critics online were hired by BP or Ogilvy.
The poster has passed the collected evidence on to the body investigating the disaster – GAP. Their investigators admitted that the documentation of more serious threats made on the BP page was clear enough to start an investigation of its own. Although all of the threats started on the Facebook page, they later escalated offline. They included identifying where somebody lived, an online troll referring to having a shotgun and making use of it.
The poster provided the investigating body with files of complaint letters, computer screenshots of the abuse, and a list of FB profiles used by the people who harassed them. It was said that the attacks were racist, sexist, and threatened people with legal action and violence. They have insinuated that some of the commenters were “child molesters”. Their aim was to get people posting negative comments to quit the social network.
One of the trolls used the nickname “Griffin” and made several allusions to gun violence. For example, he threatened to shoot an environmentalist with his .50 caliber gun. Another troll, known as “Ken Smith”, edited a photo of the company’s critic’s pet bird into the crosshairs of a gunsight.