NPR media reporter David Folkenflik writes in his forthcoming book Murdoch’s World that the network’s public relations staffers set up “sock puppet” accounts to fill comments sections of “negative or even neutral” blog posts in the mid-to-late ‘00s with “pro-Fox rants.”
The reporter says Fox employees set up wireless broadband connections that couldn’t be traced to back to the network to help cover their tracks, and one employee used an AOL dial-up connection.
The network distributed old laptop computers to use in the PR campaign, Folkenflik says.
Four former employees confirmed the practice, Folkenflik says, and he reports one employee used 20 aliases and another set up 100 sock puppet accounts.
“Even blogs with minor followings were reviewed to ensure no claim went unchecked,” Folkenflik writes.
It wasn’t clear whether the network still uses the tactics.