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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020

Facebook's secret PR attack on Google blows up in its...face

Social networking giant is found out after hiring a PR firm to spread negative stories about Google. Cue lots of bad puns about egg on their face.

Image: Martin Keene/PA Wire/Press Association Images

FACEBOOK HAS BEEN left with egg on its…eh…face, after it was exposed for orchestrating a smear campaign against Google.

The Daily Beast reports that the social networking firm hired a PR company to feed unfavourable stories about Google to the press and bloggers, particularly in relation to Google invading people’s privacy.

The PR firm in question, Burson-Marstellar, obviously didn’t consider that they might get ratted out. Forbes reports that a blogger who was approached with an anti-Google story tweeted about it, and then posted the story pitch from Burson-Marstellar on his blog.

Burson-Marstellar had told the blogger that it could place his article in publications like The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.

USA Today also blew the whistle, saying the paper had been approached to write a story about how the Gmail feature Social Circle was a privacy concern.

However, Facebook was not named as being the client behind the stories until The Daily Beast approached a spokesperson with evidence, and it was confirmed that Facebook had hired Burson-Marstellar, not only because of privacy concerns, but also because Google is using Facebook data for it’s own social networking services, which Facebook isn’t too happy about.

The PR firm hired by Facebook is coming under fire too, with former CNBC technology reporter (and now Burson-Marstellar employee) Jim Goldman being named and shamed as the one behind the whisper campaign.

Read more: The Daily Beast points the finger at Facebook>

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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