Deception is occasionally a necessary tactic, but it would be insane to try to argue that it is a behavior that creates economic value. It should not be the expected default behavior, and in fact, is not. Which is why there are both civil and criminal penalties for fraud.
Deceptive behavior that is less than fraud may not be illegal, but it's still shame worthy in my view.
If we swapped out companies with strangers and HN with facebook, would these people be responding to their friends posting venting comments about whistlers on the bus to work with "It's a free country, they are allowed to whistle on the bus, so shutup."? To be honest, I don't think so. I think the reason this reply is absurd is patently is likely obvious to them when the subject of the criticism does not involve a corporation. It seems as far as they are concerned, as soon as a company enters the picture, all criticisms become invalid if they do not involve law-breaking.
Why this is the case I can only guess.
Because in contemporary North American culture the expectation for a company is basically sociopathic behavior within the law. But the expectation for an individual person is ethically aware and polite behavior in the face of public scrutiny.
Too many people playing poker games instead of building a world where we all get better lives.
I expect companies to not act ethically. In other words, I think of myself as a realist and this just seems to be how companies are going to act.
On the other hand, I expect them to act ethically. Meaning ethical behaviour is the behaviour that I demand from them.
Like when a parent says to their teenage kid who refuses to study for an exam, "Well I expect you to get an A". They don't expect that, but they do expect that of them.
Maybe these two sorts of "expect" get shorted out when corporations enter the picture? On the other hand, perhaps the expectation of a corporation in both senses really is sociopathic behaviour. All that "duty to the shareholders" crap...