AfterDawn: Tech news

Facebook admits to smear campaign against Google

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 12 May 2011 13:21 User comments (9)

Facebook admits to smear campaign against Google Facebook has come clean this week, admitting to secretly hiring a PR firm that planted negative stories about Google in newspapers and websites.
The social networking giant hired top-5 PR firm Burson-Marsteller to tell newspaper editors to investigate into whether Google was invading the privacy of its users.

Burson-Marsteller even offered to help noted blogger Christopher Soghoian write an op-ed that would have bashed Google. The PR firm promised the story could be placed later in the Huffington Post and the Washington Post. Soghoian instead released all the emails and declined the offer.

While many believed the "unnamed client" was either Apple or Microsoft, it turns out Facebook has an ax to grind and hates the fact that Google is trying to use Facebook data in its own social-networking services, like Social Circle.

Social Circle lets Gmail users see info about their Google and Facebook friends, but also their "secondary connections," or friends of friends.

The PR firm, in its smear campaign, was telling journalists that Social Circle is:

Designed to scrape private data and build deeply personal dossiers on millions of users—in a direct and flagrant violation of [Google's] agreement with the FTC.

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.

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9 user comments

112.5.2011 19:08

Interesting that Facebook is concerned for its users' privacy suddenly. Given their history of changing policies and security to default to wide open unless a user changes it, I can hardly see the concern. I think they are afraid of Google taking over the world... Muhahahahahhahaa

212.5.2011 20:05

google is under investigation in more than a few different countries for different reasons. Many are concerned the way google handles our private data. Google it.

312.5.2011 21:28

Zuckerburg/Facebook has been aggressively malicious since the start.

413.5.2011 9:09

The only one that comes out of this with any credit is Christopher Soghoian. We all know what Google is capable of and Zuckerberg is just a greedy hypocrite.

513.5.2011 11:53

Interesting, you know, I have never found a reason to use the application I affectionately call “a$$book” or any other “social” app for that matter. Matter of taste and security I guess.

613.5.2011 13:03

Originally posted by editmon:
Interesting, you know, I have never found a reason to use the application I affectionately call “a$$book” or any other “social” app for that matter. Matter of taste and security I guess.
Ditto, and I hope you realise we're in the minority? Fast becoming a disppearing species too, as more and more companies are releasing details of new products etc. via FB and Twatter. We're already far too obvious on the internet and I don't see why we should add to company profits by giving them chapter and verse.

Only twits Twitter.

713.5.2011 14:01

Lets not forget that YAHOO collects personnel info to share with companies so they know what ads to show on their sites. I guess I don't understand the 'smear' when top officers at Google have stated on TV that they track your searching habits.

To be honest, I don't trust anyone on the net anymore. You can use VPN, TOR, or whatever, but it is much easier (maybe not to easy)to track someone if you want to spend the time to do it.

813.5.2011 14:22

Originally posted by 1945mitch:
Lets not forget that YAHOO collects personnel info to share with companies so they know what ads to show on their sites. I guess I don't understand the 'smear' when top officers at Google have stated on TV that they track your searching habits.
I believe Yahoo were the first to use web beacons, but at least you can opt out of having them implanted. But the level of tracking cookies is breathtaking. A recent study by the WSJ tested popular sites and the winner (or loser, depending on how you want to categorise it) was dictionary.com, where a visit generated over 230 tracking cookies. And if they can sell on your internet habits there's nothing to stop governments from doing the same thing. George Orwell would be proud.

913.5.2011 15:50

George is grinning from ear to ear.

PS: No opt out for Google that I know of. I use the opt out in Firefox.

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