Googlegate: Facebook Admits to Failed Smear Campaign on Google

May 13th, 2011 at 11:47 am

So it does look like Mark Zuckerberg’s character in “The Social Network” is close to accurate. A spokesperson to the widely-popular social networking site admitted that Facebook paid a PR firm to spread news across the media that would smear Google‘s name and to encourage different organizations to examine allegations that it was violating user privacy.

The admission comes after The Daily Beast confronted Facebook with “evidences” of its involvement. The PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, offered tech journalists to criticize Google’s Social Circle–a service that allows Gmail users to access information on “secondary connections,” or friends of their friends.

“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,” the PR firm allegedly stated in an e-mail.

Blogger Chris Soghoian, however, thought that Burson-Marsteller is “making a mountain out of a molehill,” so he prodded them about which company they might be working for. The PR company refused, so Soghoian published all of the e-mails sent between him and the firm.

A representative of Facebook said the company hired Burson for two primary reasons: It believes Google is indeed violating consumer privacy and it also suspects that it “may be improperly using data they have scraped about Facebook users.”

Google has yet to comment on the story. It is probably as shocked as we are.

Source: The Daily Beast, via Engadget


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