Report: Facebook hired PR firm to smear Google

You know the tagline—you don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies. Mark Zuckerberg might have made a mighty foe indeed out of Google, after his company reportedly hired a public relations firm to spread negative stories about Google’s privacy record. At least, that’s what The Daily Beast is reporting.

According to the site, PR firm Burson-Marsteller "offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post." The blogger turned around and posted the firm’s e-mails publicly, revealing the smear campaign’s existence but not its ultimate source. The identity of the company who retained Burson’s services remained under wraps.

Well, The Daily Beast now claims a Facebook spokesman confirmed that his company was the one who hired Burson. The spokesman even volunteered an explanation:

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.

Judging by the allegedly leaked Burson e-mails, the privacy smear campaign centered on Google’s Social Circle feature. Bloggers weren’t the only ones targeted, either. USA Today reported yesterday that it, too, had been contacted by Burson about the story.

Comments closed
    • puppetworx
    • 9 years ago

    But…but this can’t be right? One company smearing another, the gall, I am outraged Sir.

    OUTRAGED!

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    I’m tired of people complaining about facebook’s privacy. Yes it sucks, yes it has security holes, but since day 1 I had privacy set to max and I have never had any data available to the public or 3rd parties.

    As for this story, its hardly a surprise… i’m sure this happens all the time. Considering all of the anti-competitive practices such as Microsoft and Intel have done, this seems rather petty…

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]"Yes it sucks, yes it has security holes, / but since day 1 I had privacy set to max and I have never had any data available to the public or 3rd parties."[/quote<] Curious if you think that those two statements are exclusive. If a service has had historical security [url=http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-20062318-245.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20<]holes[/url<], and said service holds your information, wouldn't logic and "history repeats itself" lead to "3rd parties will eventually be able to access my data?" Or are you coming from the logic of "it's never happened to me therefore I'll always be fine." Let's not even get into the story that Facebook has leaked millions of accounts to third parties, and those account holders have not received notification. Again and again and again. I'm not url linking this, I'm bored of Facebook.

        • ShadowTiger
        • 9 years ago

        I just want people to realize that the base systems are usually secure, its only when you start adding 3rd party features that security holes crop up left and right.

        Facebook apps, flash apps, javascript, webGL… all of this stuff is insecure… we have to seriously consider whether its worth the risk of enabling them.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 9 years ago

    So this is the ultimate pot calling the kettle black, right?

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    I probably need to take more vitamins after reading the magazine title as Daily Breast.

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    lol, FB is just a giant marketing chat site that holds your personal info and sells it unsuspectingly without your knowlege to the highest bidder. i could care less what they say. FB is such a motha Zucker!

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Microsoft and Facebook. You heard it hear first.

      • PrincipalSkinner
      • 9 years ago

      We herd it hear and we want moar!

    • Imperor
    • 9 years ago

    Why can’t everybody just get along?

    Seriously, integrating services should benefit all parties! If Google wants to integrate Facebook, shouldn’t that be a good thing for Facebook? Unless they really do have honest concerns?
    Not that I’m a big fan of FBs “privacy” policy… But, what?

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 9 years ago

    HUR HUR. It’s a conspiracy, so it must not be true. Conspiracies don’t exist. Maybe you’re all racists. Corporations always tell the truth, and never lie. They don’t pay people to write articles, or shill on forums. None of that exists. Keep sucking your thumbs, and believe everything we tell you, even if it occasionally is contradictory. That’s just cognitive dissonance, ignore it. /sarcasm.

    Being more serious, I think that the only way people can have any sort of privacy is to start using decentralized p2p methods of communication.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      someone is carrying over his angst from FNT.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 9 years ago

        Dunno. I think most of us realize that the privacy policies of these corporations are a joke, but somehow tune that out and believe that they can be trusted. It’s like we put the voice of reason inside a soundproof box and watch him scream. I don’t hear nothing, so it must be okay. Does anyone really trust google or facebook deep down? They just use it because everyone else uses it.

      • just brew it!
      • 9 years ago

      You’re wrong. The only way to have true privacy these days is to move to a cabin in the Montana wilderness, off the electric grid, with no Internet service. Grow your own food, and don’t interact with anyone.

      We seem to be obsessed with “privacy”, but there’s a balancing act. People need to take some responsibility for their own actions as well. An online merchant allowing their servers to get hacked, divulging your credit card info, is clearly a problem. A site like Facebook or Google leaking personal info in violation of their TOS is also clearly wrong. But IMO any aggregation/correlation of information which is legally accessible to the public is fair game.

      If you don’t want your spouse, family, employer, potential employer, or the general public to know about it, [b<]don't frikkin' post it online in a publicly accessible area[/b<]. Period, end of discussion.

    • Sylak
    • 9 years ago

    LOL, facebook is as bad on privacy as google. it’s so stupid. they both use your info. and in both case you have ways to shut yourslef from that. my nexus Location option are off. i don’t use latitude. only my cell phone carrier got my location, and that is normal. as for facebook, just don’t use games and facebook app. and do like me, in you personel Info, write stupid thing that are not true.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]"and do like me, in you personel Info, write stupid thing that are not true."[/quote<] Why though. Why even bother?

        • Sylak
        • 9 years ago

        because it’s funny, i mean. People take a lot of thing too seriously, and me i’m here too have fun 🙂

          • Imperor
          • 9 years ago

          I’m completely honest in my FB-presentation and it’s open to anyone. If you don’t stand for what you do and believe in, what’s the point?

            • Peldor
            • 9 years ago

            the lulz seems to be a popular answer.

            the drama covers the rest.

      • bcronce
      • 9 years ago

      “as Google” would be a complement for Facebook… Except for that horrible design with Buzz, but that’s more of an oddity for Google.

    • Mystic-G
    • 9 years ago

    This article made me think of this episode of Futurama.

    [url<]http://timtrott.co.uk/uploads/timtrott.co.uk/2009/08/futurama_fry_brainspawn.jpg[/url<]

    • yuriylsh
    • 9 years ago

    I think Facebook does not need such campaigns, Google can harm it’s reputation itself… I found this to be interesting reading of analysis of Google emails revieled in today’s court filings [url<]http://thisismynext.com/2011/05/12/google-android-skyhook-lawsuit-motorola-samsung/[/url<]

    • Neutronbeam
    • 9 years ago

    Wonder if anyone at Burson working on the campaign is a member of the Public Relations Society of America [I’ve been a PRSA member for 23 years], because I’m kinda thinkin’ their personal efforts would seem to skirt the edge of the PRSA Code of Ethics…

    ” Code guidelines, like tactics supporting strategies, zero in on putting value and principles into play for working professionals facing everyday tasks and challenges. Among them, professionals should:

    Be honest and accurate in all communications.
    Reveal sponsors for represented causes and interests.
    Act in the best interest of clients or employers.
    Disclose financial interests in a client’s organization.
    Safeguard the confidences and privacy rights of clients and employees.
    Follow ethical hiring practices to respect free and open competition.
    Avoid conflicts between personal and professional interests.
    Decline representation of clients requiring actions contrary to the Code.
    Accurately define what public relations activities can accomplish.
    Report all ethical violations to the appropriate authority.

    Addressing Practice Challenges
    Digging even deeper, BEPS takes on current practice issues and challenges in periodic Professional Standards Advisories (PSA’s). Applying the Code to specific scenarios, BEPS has addressed practices including:

    Pay-for-play journalism.
    Anonymous Internet posting, “flogs” and viral marketing.
    Front groups.
    Disclosure of payment of expert commentators.
    Truth in wartime communications.
    Overstating charges or compensation for work performed. “

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      We have the internets now. Ethics are obsolete.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      Can’t tell if trolling.

        • mutarasector
        • 9 years ago

        Naw… this doesn’t rise (or lower) to the level of trolling. A bit of hyperbole perhaps, but essentially Indeego is echoing a similar sentiment of mine.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    Zuckerburg acting like a jerk? C’mon, Cyril, who’s going to believe [i<]that[/i<]?!?

      • Peldor
      • 9 years ago

      Next up: backhoe operators being paid to have ‘accidents’ near data center fiber lines.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This