Apple manipulates journalists using anonymous social media accounts

A new report from the typically Apple-friendly news site 9to5Mac has detailed the strides Apple goes through in order to cultivate positive media coverage -- including maintaining falsely inflated relationships with journalists, and even "keeping tabs" on writers and media members using anonymous social media accounts.

The nine-part feature covers multiple aspects of Apple's highly-praised PR game, but several sections are more interesting than others -- including the part which details how Apple games the media and uses journalists to its advantage.

Another cornerstone tactic of Apple PR was playing publications against each other, according to Brian Lam, founder of The Wirecutter and former head of Gizmodo. When print magazines dominated, Jobs could get either Newsweek or TIME to promote Apple on the front cover by making them compete against each other for an exclusive.

9to5Mac also mentions Apple's strategy in tearing down its biggest competitor -- Android -- by whipping journalists into spreading negative stories. They even note an example earlier in the week where two of their writers were sent a story by Apple PR, attempting to portray Android in a negative light.

Apple’s PR team isn’t above quietly spreading negative press about competitors. For instance, when a publication “has written something negative about Android, [Apple PR] would send those stories around,” telling writers something like “that’s how we feel.”

The most shocking detail, however, may be Apple's aggressive and highly proactive efforts towards media coverage.

Members of Apple PR seek tabloid photos of celebrities holding iPhones, while others read Apple-focused blogs actively, and keep tabs on prominent Apple beat writers using anonymized social media accounts. A former Apple PR employee notes that the team enjoys being an “overall watchdog,” monitoring what the media is saying about the company every day.

These PR strategies are certainly not a new phenomenon, and Apple is far from the only company, especially not the only tech company, which embraces aggressive tactics to develop good press and bury bad news. However, Apple is on top of the press game for a reason -- the lack of significant coverage on Apple's role in the recent celebrity nude leaks, which were purported to be obtained via an exploit in iCloud's code, being a major example --  and its competitors can learn something from Apple's masterful media gaming.

Many companies are known to sever their relationships with news outlets who portray them in a poor light, so 9to5mac's report is brave considering its status as a predominant Apple community. Considering all of its tactics mentioned above, and as more and more news outlets pick up the story, seeing Apple's reaction to the report will be interesting. 

Source: 9to5Mac | Image via Wallpaperpics.net

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