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Tech PR: On background, annoying as hell

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Tech PR: On background, annoying as hell

At TB towers, we have been moaning about how tech firms handle the press for a while. In particular, how they abuse off-the-record privileges.

Joining us is influential tech blog The Verge which has a most excellent update to its policy regarding the use of “off the record” and “on background”.

Why the update? “Because big tech companies have hired a dizzying array of communications staff who routinely push the boundaries of acceptable sourcing in an effort to deflect accountability, pass the burden of truth to the media, and generally control the narratives around the companies they work for while being annoying as hell to deal with.”

Well said.

The Verge’s Nilay Patel gives some examples:

More than one big company insists on holding product briefings “on background with no attribution” which means no one can properly report what company executives say about their own new products.

A big tech company PR person emailed us a link to the company’s own website “on background.”

A food delivery company insisted on discussing the popularity of chicken wings on background.

Multiple big tech companies insist on having PR staffers quoted as “sources familiar with the situation” even though they are paid spokespeople for the most powerful companies in the world.

There’s much more of this, read it for yourself.

Last week, a start-up tech bank expected me to report that it has record revenues “on background”.

This is past laughable.

The Verge isn’t going to take it anymore, and neither should the rest of us.

On background? Get knotted.

Press release of the day

It is Equal Pay Day this Thursday, November 18.

This from City & Guilds says women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and there is a risk of “undoing the progress made towards gender equality over recent decades”.

Women are under-represented in high paying industries and working practices are “often not compatible with the caring responsibilities that often fall to women”.


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