3. Amplifying Corporate Dissent: A Tactic to Take Down Fossil Fuels

This is one of a series of potential tactics to use against fossil fuel companies, meant to limit their ability to supply fossil fuels.

1. Phishing for Leaks | 2. Crashing the Roadshow | 3. Amplifying Corporate Dissent (you are here)

This campaign is presented in draft form. It would be helpful to know what you think, what you find interesting, and potential issues. If you have expertise in underwriting, oil or gas drilling, recruiting, or other mentioned fields, and would like to contribute your knowledge, please contact me. Industry insiders and insights make these posts possible.

3. Amplifying Corporate Dissent

The 2016 election and aftermath was characterized by divisive trolling. The trolls were sloppy, cheap, and loosely affiliated. They were also extremely effective at widening division and crippling the United States’ political machinery.

What happens when fossil fuel company office politics go online?

Social Media is designed to make you angry. Anger drives discussion (even context-less discussion!), and discussion drives views, which create clicks, which result in Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media companies making $0.10 off of your enraged 3am keyboard-smashing. As a result, social media is an excellent place to sow division within an organization.

In the real world, people eventually de-escalate their anger. In social media, that circuit-breaker is jammed, because it’s more profitable that way.

without social media dark UX: anger -> discussion -> reconciliation. with social dark ux: anger <-> discussion -> discfunction; discussion -> views -> ad clicks -> $0.10 made from your 3am social media argument

What if this happened to an essential company in the fossil fuel supply chain?

Amplifying dissent in essential companies within the fossil fuel value chain, can lead to sector wide slowdowns, preventing fossil fuels from being extracted and burned, while other, cleaner energy alternatives take their market share.


Here’s a sample to-do list to amplify corporate dissent:

  1. Identify a fossil fuel target and topic of dissent. Companies who are essential to the fossil fuel supply chain and have ongoing scandals, difficulties, or different decisions are good candidates.
  2. Start two or more Facebook groups taking sides. You’ll want to use separate profiles for each group.
  3. Create low quality memes mischaracterizing other opinions. These websites can help.
  4. Invite employees and former employees. Employee lists can be found by searching for other company-related groups and posts. A small advertising budget (~ $50) can also go an extremely long way.
  5. Routinely upload new inflammatory content. Some initially posting can artificially move the discussion forward, before it moves itself.

Notes and Disclaimers

  • This might be funded by short-sellers who would benefit from a company’s crack-up, or by renewable energy competitors. (Hello hedge funds and renewable energy infrastructure players!)
  • This is inspired by the Russian troll campaign which would (does?) set up protests and counter-protests on opposite sides of the street, hoping people get violent.
  • I think that this is legal to do , but might be considered stock manipulation to fund.

  • I’m not aware of environmentalists having done this before.
  • The targeted organization would need to be essential to the fossil fuel supply chain in some way

    • In targeting a company with many competitors, activists would only be replacing one minion of the climate crisis with another.
    • e.g.: Don’t go after Shell, BP, or Exxon with this tactic. Instead, it’s better to go after something strange, technical, and irreplaceable. I haven’t looked into it much, but Halliburton might be a good option.
  • You may also have internet troll friends who can help.
  • I’m too earnest to be a good internet troll, so don’t ask me to do this.

a diagram showing that it's best to amplify dissent in essential parts of the fossil fuel value chain. Parts of the value chain that other other parts depend on are highlighted.

This is one of a series of potential tactics to use against fossil fuel companies, meant to limit their ability to supply fossil fuels.

1. Leaks for Liability | 2. Crashing the Roadshow | 3. Amplifying Corporate Dissent (you are here)

What do you think?