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<nettime> Sock puppets on Wikipedia
nettime's avid reader on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 15:41:36 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Sock puppets on Wikipedia

Koch Industries Employs PR Firm To Airbrush Wikipedia, Gets Banned For 
Unethical âSock Puppetsâ


Last year, Koch Industries began employing New Media Strategies (NMS), an 
Internet PR firm that specializes in âword-of-mouth marketingâ for major 
corporations including Coca-Cola, Burger King, AT&T, Dodge and Ford. It 
appears that, ever since the NMS contract was inked with Koch, an NMS 
employee began editing the Wikipedia page for âCharles Koch,â âDavid Koch,â 
âPolitical activities of the Koch family,â and âThe Science of Successâ (a 
book written by Charles). Under the moniker of âMBMAdmirer,â NMS employees 
edited Wikipedia articles to distance the Koch family from the Tea Party 
movement, to provide baseless comparisons between Koch and conspiracy 
theories surrounding George Soros, and to generally delete citations to 
liberal news outlets. After administrators flagged the MBMAdmirer account 
as a âsock puppetâ â one of many fake accounts used to manipulate new media 
sites â a subsequent sock puppet investigation found that MBMAdmirer is 
connected to a number of dummy accounts and ones owned by NMS employees 
like Jeff Taylor.

Soren Dayton, a GOP operative and executive at New Media Strategies, is 
reported to be the contact for Koch Industries at NMS. Reached by phone 
yesterday by ThinkProgress, Dayton exclaimed, âIâm not going to talk about 
this, thanks,â before hanging up. Lyndsey Medsker, a senior account 
director for NMS, spoke to ThinkProgress today. She explained that NMS also 
maintains the Koch Industries Twitter page, Facebook page, and has an 
active team working on promoting Koch Industries in the comment section of 
blogs and news websites.

As ThinkProgress has reported, the billionaire Koch brothers maintain 
contracts with over a dozen public relation firms and lobbying firms. 
Pushing back again recent scrutiny, the brothers have also relied on a 
conservative media infrastructure owned by the Koch brothers or closely 
linked to them by way of their donor conferences. We have documented how 
the Koch message machine has targeted ThinkProgress and even placed hit-
pieces against a New Yorker journalist investigated the Kochs. But now it 
seems the Koch brothers are at work manipulating Wikipedia to polish their 

Update: New Media Strategies at one point tried to lie about its 
affiliation with Koch Industries. The account "MBMAdmirer" wrote in 
December on Wikipedia: "I am a citizen who has read about and admires the 
Koch family. I was not pleased with the way that they have been presented 
in the media. And I thought that I could come to Wikipedia to try to make 
sure that there are balancing facts. Nothing I do is in coordination with 
Koch or authorized by Koch.

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