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Facebook Admits Hiring PR Firm to Plant Negative Stories About Google Over User Privacy
Samizdata




msg:4311359
 3:29 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Facebook has been caught secretly paying a top public relations firm to plant negative stories about Google in the US media.

Burson-Marsteller, one of the world's largest PR firms, attempted to get USA Today, the Washington Post and other high profile US news outlets to write scaremongering stories about Google's privacy policies.

The explosive revelation which will seriously damage relations between the two technology giants, already bitter rivals came to light in leaked emails late on Wednesday. Facebook later confirmed to the Daily Beast that it had hired Burson-Marsteller.

[guardian.co.uk...]

It's a jungle out there.

...

 

Panthro




msg:4311360
 3:32 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm sure GOOG does the same.

Freedom




msg:4311368
 3:38 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

FB doesn't have to pay for it, GOOG does it to themselves just fine.

Shaddows




msg:4311412
 4:42 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

And this from the BBC [bbc.co.uk]
It has been revealed that Facebook embarked on a smear campaign against rival Google.

The social network has admitted that it hired a PR firm to plant anti-Google stories related to user privacy...

[PR firm]Burson told Mr Soghain, among others, that "the American people must be made aware of the now immediate intrusions into their deeply personal lives Google is cataloguing and broadcasting every minute of every day - without their permission."

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4311432
 5:16 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Facebook willfully misleading people IS a big deal actually, do you really want to trust such a company with yours and all your friends and families personal details ?

walkman




msg:4311440
 5:22 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I never trust FB, MSFT or Google, but this is brilliant for FB.

Imagine a detective sifting through all your searches that Google saves for 18 months, no doubt along with every other bit of info.

Payback: Google shows negative stories for FB in the news section :). And they don't need to hire a PR firm for that

[edited by: walkman at 5:39 pm (utc) on May 12, 2011]

true_INFP




msg:4311449
 5:24 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

A company that regularly breaches your privacy hires a PR company to talk about another company that regularly breaches your privacy. Makes sense.

tim222




msg:4311480
 6:03 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Imagine a detective sifting through all your searches that Google saves for 18 months, no doubt along with every other bit of info.


I can just imagine that detective's report on my search patterns:

- He writes messages in a code language called "C Sharp"
- He is trying to conceal something... he was searching for instructions on how to hide a DIV
- He is spying on keywords used by his competitors
- He uses PHP

walkman




msg:4311489
 6:26 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Tim, my point was that these dirty tricks are more common than we know. That's why I don't buy the fact that SERPS aren't influnced by Google's broad $$$ goals. IMO, it's not a clear 'let's punish this site' but more in the forms winks and nods and hints like "Man, those xtype sites are all over SERPS" and there they to page 4 the next update. if people still want them, let them click on the adwords next to the SERPS :)

Google has more to lose in this debate; what I post on FB is almost open by default. But Google has my history of searches from programing to a term I heard on CSI Miami, email, blog, apps, docs etc etc. And Google can ruin my livelihood as it tries to get more and more of my money (by keeping users in Google.com instead of being a search engine)

But Google wouldn't do this...yeah Ok, but FB would hire a PR company and leave such a paper trail.

superclown2




msg:4311493
 6:39 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Facebook willfully misleading people IS a big deal actually, do you really want to trust such a company with yours and all your friends and families personal details ?


Were they misleading people? Or making sure that facts were made available? There is a huge difference.

J_RaD




msg:4311519
 7:19 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)


Facebook willfully misleading people IS a big deal actually, do you really want to trust such a company with yours and all your friends and families personal details ?


hey waitttttt a second here, you willingly embrace goog in another thread and isn't that exactly what they do?

drall




msg:4311537
 8:21 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yawn.. They ALL do this.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Chapter 6 Weak Points

Webwisemedia




msg:4311546
 8:44 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

They are always battling with each other. I will not be surprised that Google will be doing the same thing back.

walkman




msg:4311571
 9:25 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree webwisemedia,
let them kill each other. The more they go after each the better it is for us, their scummy behavior on privacy is exposed. People and other media sources will shine a light in this, who looks better or worse here, is temporary.

trumble




msg:4311588
 10:06 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Much better that they're attacking eachother over privacy, than if they spoke as an industry group and played down privacy concerns. GOOG/FB/MSFT would be a terrifying oligopoly.

BillyS




msg:4311610
 11:27 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Knowing the roots of FB, this is not surprising. Greed will be their downfall too.

apauto




msg:4311614
 11:49 pm on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

As far as we know, this "facebook paid a pr firm to smear google" could be a lie, started by a PR firm that works for google... who knows the truth any more?

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4311622
 12:32 am on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I hiring a PR firm to spread paranoia about your competitor legal? If it's not Facebook is about to face some serious charges. It sounds like the admittance was because they knew the secret was out.

true_INFP




msg:4311698
 7:41 am on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)


I hiring a PR firm to spread paranoia about your competitor legal? If it's not Facebook is about to face some serious charges. It sounds like the admittance was because they knew the secret was out.

If the PR company only says pure truth, it should be protected as Free Speech by the US Constitution.

ember




msg:4311850
 2:16 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Facebook is digital feudalism. One person owning the property and getting rich off of others who do all the work but have no ownership stake. I am not surprised at all that FB would plant stories.

Samizdata




msg:4311885
 3:02 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

As far as we know, this "facebook paid a pr firm to smear google" could be a lie, started by a PR firm that works for google

Those who have actually read the article may have spotted this passage:

Paul Cordasco, a spokesman for Burson-Marsteller, told the Guardian on Thursday that the assignment was "not at all standard operating procedure" and was against the company's policies. He added: "The assignment on those terms should have been declined."

Cordasco confirmed to the Guardian that "the assignment" was now terminated and that Burson-Marsteller was no longer working with the social network.

Admittedly, nobody asked to see the spokesman's birth certificate.

Were they misleading people?

They offered to "ghost write" damaging stories about a business competitor, which were to be planted in the mainstream media masquerading as objective journalism (while keeping the fact that FaceBook was behind it a secret).

And the PR company has form in this area:

Burson-Marsteller is no stranger to anti-Google stories. In 2007, Microsoft admitted that it had an "ongoing relationship" with the firm, which had been lobbying a number of top UK businesses to raise the issue of Google's dominance in search.

The company confirmed to the Observer at the time that it worked with Microsoft to launch a new organisation the Initiative for Competitive Online Marketplaces that made a series of announcements relating to Google.

In this case, too, Burson-Marsteller did not disclose which company it was working for until challenged.

As I said, it's a jungle out there.

...

weeks




msg:4312145
 9:37 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

A company that regularly breaches your privacy hires a PR company to talk about another company that regularly breaches your privacy. Makes sense.
Yes, it does make sense. They are trying to change the context. Facebook knows it's going to hit the fan soon and they want people to yawn.

New user 1 on this thread says:
I'm sure GOOG does the same.

New user 2 says:
They are always battling with each other. I will not be surprised that Google will be doing the same thing back.

New user 3 says:
Much better that they're attacking each other over privacy, than if they spoke as an industry group and played down privacy concerns. GOOG/FB/MSFT would be a terrifying oligopoly.

Nothing to see here. Move along...

tangor




msg:4312168
 10:41 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I get such a chuckle when I see these things in the media... Since the first Widget Company and the Second Widget Company went head to head for customers it has always been thus. The chuckle is that the Media seems to think it's a story worth expending words and distribution.

Samizdata




msg:4312173
 10:54 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

The chuckle is that the Media seems to think it's a story

The media naturally views any attempt to hoodwink the media (and its readers) as a story.

Rule Number One: Don't Get Caught.

...

tedster




msg:4313257
 7:28 pm on May 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

This TechCrunch headline from last Thursday sums it up pretty well:
Sleazy PR Firm Throws Scummy Facebook Under The Sordid Bus [techcrunch.com].

The URL itself isn't far off, either: [/swallowing-puke/]

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