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I Was Hired By SF to Delete Postings
by flagger
Friday Aug 4th, 2006 1:31 AM
PR firm hired to flag and remove content that defamed SF
I Was Hired By SF to Delete Postings

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/com/189951276.html

Reply to: comm-189951276 [at] craigslist.org
Date: 2006-08-03, 9:35PM PDT


I work for a marketing company called Tomkins and Scott LLC. We are not a typical marketing company. Many of our campaigns involve what is known as "black PR" - a covert type of marketing campaign designed to influence and sway public opinion through covert means. Although many of the techniques we use are not specifically in violation of the law, the fact that many of the clients we have give us money for black PR campaigns is.

I have decided to come out and tell the public about what my company is doing because I believe it is unethical and wrong.

Several years ago we received a contract from an agency with the city of San Francisco. The purpose of this contract was to block the spread of any information which spreads a negative light on the city, or might adversely affect its burgeouning tourism industry or robust real estate market.

Members of the agency were concerned about community forums like Craigslist which are read by millions of people. Our job at Tomkins and Scott, my job specifically, was to monitor Craigslist and summarily flag all postings which reflected negatively upon the city in any way. I am going public with this because, after 3 years of being a censor for Craigslist, I believe what we are doing is totally wrong.

I can tell you that the agency of the city of San Francisco which contracted us is not the only government agency to be engaging in black PR operations. If you knew the full list of agencies hired by us and sister firms you would be absolutely shocked. If the average citizen understood the extent to which the information being presented to him or her is being filtered and skewed they would be up in arms immediately.

Information is power and the powers that be fully realize this, which is why they are willing to devote multi-million dollar budgets to covert campaigns like ours to distort and funnel public perceptions in ways that they consider appropriate. Nothing could be more fundamentally poisonous to a democratic society than the blocking of free and open exchange of information and ideas.