Facebook Busted For Google Bashing



This is why bloggers and PR knuckleheads don't mix.


The Daily Beast broke the story:

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.

The plot backfired when the blogger turned down Burson’s offer and posted the emails that Burson had sent him. It got worse when USA Today broke a story accusing Burson of spreading a “whisper campaign” about Google “on behalf of an unnamed client.”

But who was the mysterious unnamed client? While fingers pointed at Apple and Microsoft, The Daily Beast discovered that it's a company nobody suspected—Facebook.

Nobody suspected Facebook would pay top dollar to make Google look bad in the media? Really? Nobody?

Facebook told the Beast it had, in fact, hired the PR firm but stood by its decision, claiming that it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns. Surprisingly, the Facebook rep also admitted that it resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.

Here's the statement Burston-Marsteller released today:

"Now that Facebook has come forward, we can confirm that we undertook an assignment for that client.

The client requested that its name be withheld on the grounds that it was merely asking to bring publicly available information to light and such information could then be independently and easily replicated by any media. Any information brought to media attention raised fair questions, was in the public domain, and was in any event for the media to verify through independent sources.

Whatever the rationale, this was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined. When talking to the media, we need to adhere to strict standards of transparency about clients, and this incident underscores the absolute importance of that principle."

Should have been and was are two different things, it doesn't take a PR genius to figure that out.

Ooops?

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.

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