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Digital Without a Soul: Black Ops on Twitter in the Philippines

By on Sep 27, 2014 in Digital Publishing | 11 comments

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twitter black ops in the philippines

How Distasteful, Obvious, Sad, and Desperate Some People Can be

Rant mode: On.

Just recently Smart Communications launched a free Internet offer of (30MB daily) for their prepaid subscribers. It’s definitely a game changing offer because it opens up a lot of opportunities for Filipinos who can’t afford expensive data plans to the Internet (not just limited to Facebook). There are limitations though like not having access to video streaming, peer-to-peer downloading, and OTT messaging. However everything else in the Internet is now open to Filipinos with a Smart prepaid sim.

The day after the offer black ops on social media started to happen (click the link for screencaps and detailed explanation on Unbox). Twitter accounts with foreigner profile pics, usually beautiful women, with no followers and no following, start replying to people on Twitter who mention “Smart Free Internet”. In their replies they attack the brand and the offer, sometimes even with their own hashtags. The name of the game is to individually discourage users to avail of the offer and to slander Smart’s brand by trying to get their hashtags to trend (not that trending matters these days).

If you want a live demo of this happening, check out this account.

claire amweg

The account only tweets if there are Smart launches and it has no followers and it barely follows anyone. Red flags that the account is fake and obviously made to fool people into thinking that they’re talking to an actual person with legitimate complaints when it fact they are being deceived and lied to by a black ops group/organization.

Hopefully this post gets to reach the person who actually hired the group to do black ops. My message for you is this — you are deceiving your consumers with fictitious accounts. You’re making fools out of them by making them feel they’re talking to real people when they’re not. This is digital marketing without creativity and with no soul. Instead of doing stuff like this just come up with a better offer, inform everyone about it, and let the consumers decide.

Disclaimer: For total transparency — I work for Di9it which is partly owned by DM9 JaymeSyfu which is an agency that services Smart. The views expressed in this post does not represent my company or that of DM9 JaymeSyfu. This is my personal take on the issue and consistent with my advocacy against this practice. I’ve always maintained an anti-black ops stance and have spoken publicly about this in several industry events.

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  1. Mac

    September 27, 2014

    Hindi ba sila pwedeng kasuhan under cybercrime law?

  2. Carlo Ople

    September 27, 2014

    Mahirap ata ma-trace Mac. Kung pwede lang ba e! Hehe.

  3. Edmund

    September 27, 2014

    What a bunch of a-holes.

  4. Atom

    September 27, 2014

    Papano uunlad ang Pilipinas kung mayron mga tao’ng ganito? Puros negatives.
    Pero sa ibang pananaw parang They putting pressure sa Smart na lakihan pa ang 30mb. Baka naman yun ang point nila. “Tough love.”

  5. Elle

    September 27, 2014

    I’m a “victim” of this. I tweeted #smartfreeinternet and 2 accounts replied to me. I know those are just fake accounts to counter smart’s offer bec. they only follow a few accounts. What I did is block them and reported as spam.

  6. Frankie

    September 28, 2014

    This intrigued me so much I had to check. Some DO have followers, namely each other, maybe for cosmetic purposes. They also follow the same twitter accounts. And they never reply directly to anything you ask them them other than their fabricated copy/paste drivel. This is a company’s desperate attempt to pit lifeless bots against sincere appreciation of Smart, which speaks volumes of the instigator.

  7. Pipoy Cruz

    September 28, 2014

    anong ka-ampalayahan nag ginawa niyong globe? sus! sa pagkakaalam ko ginawa naman yung Free net na yun para makaabot ang internet sa merong smart phone na walang connection. anong pinuputok kaya ng butsi nila?

  8. Icarebear81

    September 28, 2014

    Grabe naman napaka desperado naman ng ginawa nila, they’re saying na scam daw ang offer ng Smart na free internet pero ang totoo sila yung maraming scam diba, I remember the share-a-load scam that’s why I switch to a better network. It’s not fair na sisiraan nila ang Smart dahil lang na-threaten sila. This move is very petty.

  9. Josef

    September 28, 2014

    Would be more impressed if it was also Smart’s idea/doing.

  10. David

    November 8, 2014

    hmmm is this even real?

  11. Nonoy

    March 19, 2015

    I wonder if the competitor Globe did this.

    Regardless of it. the main issue here is Smart, and not this Black Ops thing. Does Smart really provide this free Internet for prepaid subscribers?

    Smart Communications and other ISP providers in PH should make sure that the Internet service they provide is way beyond subscribers’ expectations.

    This Free Internet by Smart is not FREE. Because still we have to register to a promo. It’s no different from subscribing to unli texts or call. A very clever idea to entice subscribers to load and subscribe, load and subscribe. Smart’s Free Internet is not free at all. Same marketing gimmick. Same ol story.

    Now, DOST is making a move to make Internet WI-Fi free in public places. No that’s what I think that’s really free. BUT, a big BUT. It only has 256kbps of Internet speed. 256kbps for us Filipinos living in the country?

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