Intuit, makers of TurboTax, orchestrated a “grassroots” campaign of citizens who were upset at the thought that they could file convenient, pre-filled tax forms instead of spending time and effort entering financial details into tax preparation software.
At least Intuit’s people were real, though duped. Verizon’s astroturf campaign, designed to let them weasel out of their obligation to provide high speed broadband to New Jersey residents, probably included some fake “customers”:
We received 18 replies. Several were Verizon retirees asked to sign letters of support for Verizon. Another five had no idea what we were talking about and denied they submitted any views, pro or con, about Verizon. Three of those were Comcast customers that said goodbye to Verizon more than a decade earlier. Many others were associated with groups that happen to receive financial support from Verizon. Several had no broadband access and were using dial-up.
What’s next? A blizzard of letters from Fleet customers extolling the pleasure of regular enemas? Actually, that would probably be more reasonable that people spontaneously writing letters in support of keeping tax filing painful or having shitty broadband.