Facebook Paid PR Firm to Smear Google

Latest development in the technology giant wars: it was recently discovered that Facebook hired Burson-Marsteller, a big name PR firm, to secretly plant negative stories against Google. Ironically, those stories were targeting egregious privacy infringement upon its users -- something Facebook has been accused of plenty of times in the past. The Daily Beast has the story:

Confronted with evidence, a Facebook spokesman last night confirmed that Facebook hired Burson, citing two reasons: First, because it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, because Facebook resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.

Like a Cold War spy case made public, the PR fiasco reveals—and ratchets up—the growing rivalry between Google and Facebook. Google, the search giant, views Facebook as a threat, and has been determined to fight back by launching a social-networking system of its own. So far, however, Google has not had much luck, but Facebook nonetheless felt it necessary to return fire—clandestinely.


Blogger Christopher Soghoian exposed the issue after Burson tried to get him to write an op-ed about the issue, and posted their correspondence on his website.Soghoian dismissed the idea that Google is explicitly violating privacy, and said the accusations were “making a mountain out of molehill.” Read the full story at Daily Beast.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at May 12, 2011, 6:30am

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