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Facebook caught trying to smear Google on privacy

by Scott Bicheno on 12 May 2011, 17:00

Tags: Facebook

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Tut tut

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.


HEXUS Forums :: 25 Comments

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I'm really starting to dislike FB. For whatever reason, Google seem to have more of a benificient presence in my eyes - maybe it's just the large numbers of highly useful tools they have developed and then distributed for free, and predominantly ad-free also. But whatever the reason, FB has none of that respect, and stories like this just go further to enhance my distaste for FB. Something always seems to smell funny whenever FB gets involved..
Two peas in a pod, in my opinion.
I'm really starting to dislike FB.

Agreed. Facebook is becoming a social menace, also full of rubbish.
Hang on I thought FaceBook was owned by Google, or am I thinking of MySpace?
MySpace is News Corp.

Facebook has been invested in by a fair few people, it's allegedly worth billions and squillions as its own entity.