Facebook has claimed the “credit” for planting stories around the Internet concerning Google’s privacy policies. However, this plot failed when the PR firm hired by Google, Burson-Marsteller, tried to get a prominent blogger to post the negative information and instead the blogger posted the emails from the PR firm.This was a feeble attempt by Facebook to convince the press that Google Social Circle is a privacy violation against its users.
The blogger, Chris Soghoian, who was approached by Burson to post the negative story on his blog posted the following email from the company:
“Google, as you know, has a well-known history of infringing on the privacy rights of America’s Internet users. Not a year has gone by since the founding of the company where it has not been the focus of front-page news detailing its zealous approach to gathering information -– in many cases private and identifiable information — about online users.”
Facebook representative, Dan Lyons, told The Daily Beast that Burson was hired because,
“First, because it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, because Facebook resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.”
It’s odd that Facebook would target this rather obscure Google feature that was launched back in 2009. Also why would they do this instead of airing their grievances in public? No matter what the motives were or how you look at this, this was not a good move at all by Facebook. True enough, the company may have been clueless about what the PR firm was doing. This brings up some takeaway points for you.
Do not try to make yourself look good by making your competitor look bad. As we have seen from this story, that usually backfires horribly. Second, when you pick a public relations firm, stay on top of what the firm is doing. Don’t blindly assume that they are doing the right thing or are using positive means to get what you want done accomplished.
So what do you think about this story? Did Facebook have the right to go planting negative stories about it’s competitor? Will this change your opinion of Facebook? Leave your comments in the comment section below.