[Update: Looks like there was something very fishy going on and the Reddit administrators mentioned they would investigate any foul play. Countless Reddit accounts have been deleted in the threads, as showcased in screenshots here, here and here]
Information in a post on Reddit that was on the tip of going viral has been deleted. The poster, MistySilver, made some bold claims that were partially corroborated by other paid marketers on the thread. Several websites reached out to Microsoft for clarification and Microsoft responded.
You can check out the remnants of the highly volatile thread on Reddit right here. Business Insider's Julie Bort had the intestinal fortitude to do a nice write-up about the situation and offer Microsoft a voice by asking them whether or not any of it was true.
The gist of the situation is that MistySilver claimed that while working in Redmond on a marketing team, Microsoft had hired other marketers to come in and run reputation damage control, similar to what the EA viral marketer claimed last year. The Reddit post claimed that viral marketers were vote-gaming news posts on Reddit, GameFaqs and other large sites to quell some of the outrage happening over the policies for the Xbox One that have been made public.
The Next Web reached out to Microsoft as well, and the Redmond-based company had a representative respond with an e-mail that left a lot unexplained or very vague, similar to the Xbox One policies two weeks ago. After a couple of times, due to unclear responses with lots of room for interpretation, the company's final, revised message was as follows...
There is no coordinated or sanctioned effort by Microsoft employees, or anyone paid by Microsoft, to unduly influence Reddit or other online forums.
So...what about other firms hired to hire marketers? Would that count?
Anyway, we already warned our own gaming audience in a guide on how to spot a viral marketer in the gaming community.
We're no strangers to the propaganda machine around these parts, and I would certainly advise you to be wary of individuals trying to calm the rage surrounding the anti-consumer policies of the Xbox One, befuddle the conversation or misdirect attention by dragging misinformation about the PS4's policies into the discussion.
Across each major gaming site you might find a collection of individuals trying to say “It's not that bad, it's just like Steam”, in which case, we can all agree that the Xbox One is not like Steam, but trying to compare a very anti-consumer measure to a very pro-consumer service helps dissuade the rage. In fact, IncGamers has a very appropriate article detailing the differences between Steam's DRM and the Xbox One's DRM.
For those of you curious what was actually said in that Reddit post, we have the image below that you can read in full. It's all very interesting if true. Sadly, most of all the reposts have been removed by Reddit admins (possibly at request?) so see for yourself what they didn't want you to read.