The Ethics of Opposition Research and Negative Campaigns in Business

My guess is the ship has already sailed and I missed the launch, but I had no idea how professionalized the concept of opposition research had become and was really surprised to first hear the term “weaponize” in relation to facts. Just a few years ago, a major public relations firm was damaged by criticism that it was conducting an opposition campaign involving digging up negative facts and arguments against a client’s competitors and seeking to place stories to damage the company.

But what reports about the Uber/Taxi industry campaigns suggests that all out war is occurring and more is to come. Uber was “outed” by publication of a recruiting document describing its very aggressive intentions. Uber says they were just responding to what they claim has been a multimillion dollar attack campaign is seeking to respond. Sounds like a political campaign, right? No surprise, companies are hiring political campaign strategists expert in negative campaigning. See attached letter. What do you think about this? Any way to stop it?