Recently released tender documents for the upcoming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments reveal Atos has been using the services of online marketing agency Big Mouth Media to spy on disabled people’s social networking pages.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Big Mouth Media/LBi claim they ended their relationship with Atos in February this year and were not involved in the website closures by Atos mentioned in this piece, for more information see: How Much Did Atos Lie To Win PIP Contract?
LBi claim: “I’d just like to clarify that bigmouthmedia, which is now part of LBi, does not work with ATOS Healthcare in any way. We were initially involved in a project to help them better understand social media, but in February this year we decided to bring an end to our relationship. Furthermore, we were categorically not involved with the closure of any website, blog or online community space on behalf of ATOS Healthcare.”
UPDATE: An unofficial spokesperson for LBi/Big Mouth Media claim they are no longer involved with Atos due to a ‘difference of opinion’. Full official clarification is promised soon.
Atos claim that using Big Mouthed Media to “pro-actively monitor websites and social media” for mentions of the company has helped them identify any areas of public concern about their activities. In reality Atos have been responsible for using legal threats in an attempt to censor and stifle any online criticism of their disability denying benefit assessments.
Atos carry out the notorious Work Capability Assessment. This crude computer based test has been used to strip benefits from out of work sick or disabled claimants.
An increasing number of deaths have been linked to the endless assessment and re-assessment regime, whilst earlier in the year it was discovered that 32 people a week die after being found ‘fit for work’ by Atos. The company recently won the contract to carry out similar assessments for those claiming Disability Living Allowance, when it is reformed into Personal Independence Payments (PIP) next year. It is in the tender document for these assessments, recently published online by bungling DWP officials, where Atos claim to monitor the social networking pages of sick or disabled claimants.
The Carer Watch website was shut down by Atos, simply because a post on their forum was critical of the company. Other sites, such as the Atos Register of Shame, were bullied offline due to the phrase Atos Kills.
Big Mouth Media do not boast of their involvement with Atos on their client list, preferring to keep that dirty little secret to themselves. But there can be little doubt that this company
is making money was making money (see updates) supporting Atos and their drive to force as many sick and disabled people into poverty as possible.
There can be few things more embarrassing then for a online marketing company to become a target for protests and complaints themselves on social media websites. This is the kind of thing they are hired to prevent. Strangely Big Mouth Media, who claim to be an expert on social media, are inactive on twitter* where they have an empty account @bigmouthmedia. Luckily they are on facebook, so why not tell them what you think of their involvement with disability denying poverty pimps Atos: http://www.facebook.com/bigmouthmedia/
*Big Mouth Media recently merged with LBi, who can be found on twitter @LBiLondon