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Facebook caught red handed smearing Google
Facebook is caught red handed trying to smear its competitor. It used that well known dark arts lie manufacturer (Saddam soldiers ripping the Kuwaiti babies from their incubators leaving them to die ) Burson Marsteller in planting false and inflamitory stories about Google in the media. Probably trying to put the spotlight away from FBs appalling privacy practices.

Quote:05-12) 17:35 PDT San Francisco -- Facebook tapped a major public relations firm to plant negative stories about archrival Google's competing services, the social-networking giant acknowledged after being effectively caught red-handed by an online news site. The episode highlights the increasing friction between two of the most prominent companies in Silicon Valley as they battle over talent, acquisition targets and now public perception. It also underscores the growing importance of strategic communications in the competitive arsenal for information companies, whose success depends on winning the trust of users.
But largely, it's an embarrassing backfire for Facebook, as the clumsy PR stunt has grabbed attention instead of the issue the company was hoping to spotlight.
"This allows Google to appear to be the good guys and Facebook the bad guys," said Carl Howe, analyst with the Yankee Group.
In recent weeks, public relations firm Burson-Marsteller reportedly shopped around stories that raised privacy concerns about Google's Social Circle service to influential voices, including USA Today reporters and privacy blogger Christopher Soghoian.
The plan began to unravel after Soghoian posted the pitch online, revealing that Burson had offered to help write and place an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Politico and elsewhere. USA Today followed up with a story suggesting the firm was engaged in a "whisper campaign" to spread negative news about Google and concluded that the claims were "largely untrue."
The mystery remained about which client was behind the PR effort until the Daily Beast reported that Facebook, when confronted with evidence, had fessed up.
Facebook mostly defended its actions Thursday, saying no "smear" campaign was "authorized or intended."
"Instead, we wanted third parties to verify that people did not approve of the collection and use of information from their accounts on Facebook and other services for inclusion in Google Social Circles," the statement read. "We engaged Burson-Marsteller to focus attention on this issue, using publicly available information that could be independently verified by any media organization or analyst. The issues are serious and we should have presented them in a serious and transparent way."
Social features

Google has increasingly been weaving social features into its services, notably adding "social search results" that include things like the public Twitter updates from a person's connections that might be relevant to a given query. Google pays Twitter for that information feed.
The initial pitch from Burson claimed that Google is also scraping data from sites like Facebook, MySpace and Yahoo, and revealing secondary connections - say, the friends of your friends - without the permission of users. Google didn't respond to inquiries from The Chronicle.
Facebook has been on the receiving end of plenty of privacy criticism itself for, among other things, increasing the amount of information that is accessible without asking permission from members.
Burson both defended and apologized for its role in the incident. The company said it was raising fair questions, but acknowledged that the approach "was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined."
The fact that one tech company was pitching negative stories about another comes as little surprise to many journalists, but for the general public, it sheds a glaring and unflattering light on how parts of the industry operate. Big-league public relations is often a bare-knuckle affair, focused as much on bashing rivals as lauding oneself or clients.
Not uncommon

Different companies operate according to different standards, but it's not uncommon for major businesses to attempt to draw the eyes of journalists to the questionable practices of rivals, by highlighting issues they might not have noticed or sharing damning documents.
"It is a staple of the political and public relations world to not only tell the attributes of your own client, but to voice the demerits of one's opposition," said Sam Singer, president of Singer Associates Inc., a crisis PR firm in San Francisco.
The major reason this incident became big news is that Burson didn't disclose the client it was working for, a violation of standard industry practice, he said. The ethics policies of the Public Relations Society of America state that members shall: "Reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented."
Journalists readily take the off-the-record bait, often without disclosing the source of the information, because the information helps them produce scoops or uncover new angles.
Reporters shouldn't dismiss such information out of hand, because sometimes it's the only way it can be obtained, but they shouldn't simply run with it either, said Joe Skeel, executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists.
"It's like any tip you get anywhere," he said. "It's incumbent on every journalist to check out the facts and make sure it's credible before going forward."
E-mail James Temple at
This article appeared on page D - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
A plague on all their pox-ridden houses: Google, Facebook and Burson Marsteller. :damncomputer:
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

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