Corporate Surveillance Bots are Real

Because capitalism

This article was initially published at OH.MG on 2022-06-05

We all know that if you talk shit about Colonel Sanders on social media that you’ll eventually get a reply back from their official account using a generic apology and asking for a private message. There are loads of social media apps that for the right price will scour the silos for brand names to inject themselves in to conversations.

While annoying, you kind of accept this nonsense happening because that’s what the platforms are all about. Forced engagement and it’s within the terms of use.

However, I am today years old when I discovered a more filthy practice. Salesforce has a bot they run (created by Radian6 who I assume they acquired) that will scan every website it can find to highlight to it’s brand masters. It respects no standards (robots.txt) and they’ve replaced the crawler information page to redirect to their salesy splash screen.

Corporate spy bots have been around a while now, they’re mostly those SEO ones that like to create bullshit graphs to wave your dick at in obligation to the Google. But this is much more seedy, indexing sites to repackage to their paying userbase by force and not allowing the site owner to opt out (it would be much better to opt-in but fuck your feelings I guess).

I release my content on a non-commercial share alike basis, I have nothing special here and I don’t mind sharing things as long as you’re not trying to sell it.

This is one of the reasons I sent Salesforce a rather shitty email today, their bot comes crashing in, wasting bandwidth to steal content to resell behind a paywall for companies to come barging in on sites they have no right to be on, and more nefariously this fucker seems to be looking for a comments section to inject itself into.

Ignoring the GDPR side of things, about it creating profiles of users without their knowledge and from where ever it deems fit to do so, the decision to ignore licence to use the content is quite offensive. I guess I could call myself a Content Creator (I create content you see) and ripping off my works for this is ugly.

Since this bot ignores your request to fuckoff.txt, I found some instructions online on how you, as a web site person, can block this from looking at you. A middle finder opt-out if you will. I have to give credit to an article from 2008 I found searching for more information / contact details for this asshole bot for the answer : Wow another corp snoop bot

tl;dr - .htaccess this with (as long as you already have Rewrite Engine On) :

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^R6_
RewriteRule .* - [F]