Before Facebook hired Definers Public Affairs to do opposition research on its critics, Qualcomm used it to target Apple.
From How Facebook’s P.R. Firm Brought Political Trickery to Tech in Thursday’s New York Times:
Most of what Definers produced for Qualcomm had nothing to do with its beef with Apple, which was a complex legal fight over the royalties Apple should pay for the Qualcomm chips it was using in iPhones.
Definers employees distributed anti-Apple research to reporters and would not say who was paying for it. Definers distributed a 13-page memo titled “Apple Bowing to Chinese Cyber Regulators” that detailed how Apple’s activity in China contradicted its public stance on privacy elsewhere. It also planted dozens of negative articles about Apple on conservative news sites, according to a person familiar with the work and emails reviewed by The New York Times.
My take: A search for “Apple” in the NTK archives is like a trip down a memory lane of Apple FUD. I counted 165 hits, starting in September 2016. There have already been five this month:
- Nov. 14: In Similar Move to App Store Crackdown, China Deletes 10K Social Media Accounts Overnight
- Nov. 11: Conservatives Blast ITC Judge’s Ruling on Apple
- Nov. 6: Apple Official: Despite Trump, We Still Support the Paris Climate Agreement
- Nov. 5: Late to the Party: Apple Not Releasing First 5G Phone Until 2020
- Nov. 1: Apple Is Slowing Down Newer Phones, Contrary to Previous Claims
And then there’s this gem, from the NYTimes:
Definers’s focus on Mr. Cook extended to a campaign it ran to promote the Apple chief as a 2020 presidential candidate. A slick website titled “Draft Tim Cook 2020” had digital links to Definers employees, said Kyle Ehmke, a cybersecurity researcher for the firm ThreatConnect.
Oddly enough, I landed on the same theme all on my own. See, for example, Is Tim Cook running for president?