Facebook’s Attempt to Smear Google’s Image

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We all thought that petty drama characteristic of a high school experience was over with once graduation arrives. Facebook and Google just proved us wrong. Instead they’ve taken high school drama to a whole new level in a bigger scene known as Silicon Valley.

After days of speculation on who hired a public-relations firm Burson-Marsteller to smear Google’s image, Facebook has finally admitted their involvement. It started when Burson made offers to various bloggers to run a story on Google’s invasion of privacy. He promised that the story had the potential to get into major places such as the Huffington Post or Washington Post.

Christopher Soghonian, a privacy analyst received an email asking if he was interested in writing a column about privacy issues concerning Google’s Social Circle. Soghonian however had some doubt about the source and motive behind the writer of the email so did not pursue writing the article.

Burson’s plan backfired when Soghonian instead posted the email he received on his blog. The issue then exploded when USA Today ran the story that “an unnamed client” had hired Burson to tarnish Google’s image, leaving Facebook no choice but to admit their action. A Facebook representative claims their intention was only to highlight the flaws of Google’s social networking site, Social Circle for the public’s benefit.

The rivalry between the biggest networking site and search site began when the latter established Social Circle which through Gmail allows users to see information not only about their friends, but also about friends of their friends. Sound familiar? The premise is a lot like what Facebook offers in its website. Furthermore, Facebook claims Google is using private data from third parties such as Facebook in Google’s Social Circle. In a statement that the company made, they say, “”Facebook did not approve of use or collection for this purpose.”

Disregarding the rivalry between the two, the recent news has definitely alarmed the public who has reason to be more cautious with private data that company giants seem to be able to get a hold of with very little problem.

Photo by benstein via Flickr

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