Is there really any need for this sort of thing? Dan Lyons of The Daily Beast has reported that social networking giant Facebook hired PR agency Burson-Marsteller in the US to get them to persuade journalists to write about Google's alleged violations of user privacy.
The reason this came to light is that one of the journos BM pitched the idea to enquired who the client was, and when the agency refused to disclose that information he decided to publish the email exchange here.
Facebook and BM subsequently came clean, with the former insisting this story needed to be told and the latter trying to distance itself from the whole affair. But the damage is done.
This story is now the top trending tech story of the day - eclipsing whatever Google might be announcing - and has lead to a pretty unanimous denunciation of Facebook's tactics. Bringing the failings of your competitor's to the public's attention is one thing, but trying to do so anonymously is quite another. It's generally assumed that Facebook resorted to this technique because it's had a fair bit of criticism over user privacy itself.
In a subsequent interview the blogger - Christopher Soghoian - revealed that he's sure Facebook was trying to back-stab Google, and that he thinks Facebook is no better than Google on these matters. This must be pretty embarrassing for Facebook and BM and is a lesson to all hacks about the game we're playing.