This morning The daily beast revealed that facebook hired a PR firm to smear google. Come again?
For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley. Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. Burson even 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
Thing was, the blogger Chris Soghoian turned the gig down, and posted the emails he had received on pastebin instead. Ouch. His straightforward question "Who is paying for this? (not paying me, but paying you)" was nicely dodged with the PR firm gold standard: "I’m afraid I can’t disclose my client yet."
As speculation mounted as to whose money was behind the operation, with Microsoft and Apple always likely candidates, it transpires that Facebook was actually responsible.
A Facebook spokesman confirmed that the social networking site had been behind the whole operation, stating it believed Google was up to no-good in the social sphere that raised serious privacy concerns. But the second reason it gave, was that Google was attempting to use Facebook’s data in its own social networking platform, Social Circle.
The best part is, they just bought themselves bad press for Facebook.
The story gained wider attention when USA Today reported that two PR flacks from Burson—former CNBC tech reporter Jim Goldman, and John Mercurio, a former politcal reporter—had been pushing reporters at USA Today and other outlets to write stories and editorials claiming Google was violating people’s privacy with Social Circle.
USA Today looked into it, but decided the claims were exaggerated—at which point, Goldman ran for cover. “After Goldman’s pitch proved largely untrue, he subsequently declined USA Today’s requests for comments,” the paper reported.
In another funny bonus Facebook fail this week, Facebook Blocks Mark Zuckerberg’s Account! Not the Mark Zuckerberg, just another guy, Indianapolis bankruptcy attorney named Mark Zuckerberg. He had a facebook account, which took him 4 months to get just because of his name, but now his account has just been blocked.