updated 10:40 am EDT, Thu May 12, 2011
Facebook hires PR firm for Google smear campaign
Facebook has admitted to hiring a PR firm to put smear stories into the media about Google, with whom it has a long-standing conflict. The Daily Beast reported that Facebook tried to justify the move by saying Google's actions are raising privacy concerns and resents that Google tried to use Facebook data for its own social networking service. The firm hired by Facebook, Burson-Marsteller, suggested Google's Social Circle offering violates Google's agreement with the FTC by scraping private user data.
"The American people must be made aware of the now immediate intrusions into their deeply personal lives Google is cataloging and broadcasting every minute of every day -- without their permission," Burson wrote as part of the attack.
Content in "secondary connections" in Google's Social Circle is pulled from Facebook. Facebook believes this violates its terms of service when it uses member data this way.
The two companies are fighting over the largest piece of the online advertising pie. Facebook's information on its users lets them sell targeted advertising, which is what Google has been doing for years.