Categories: Content, Industry, News, Social

Facebook orchestrated data privacy smear campaign against Google

A spat over data privacy that has been rumbling on between social network Facebook and search giant Google has today erupted into a Tom Clancy-esque game of subterfuge, after The Daily Beast pinned down the source of anti-Google stories planted in the press as none other than Mark Zuckerberg’s baby.

The story broke when blogger Chris Soghoian was approached by PR firm Burson-Marsteller to write an opinion piece about Google’s data privacy policy – specifically surrounding a service called Social Circle which allows users to view information about their contacts’ friends – so called “secondary connections”.

Soghoian believed that the PR firm were “making a mountain out of molehill”, and, having had his suspicions aroused, posted their email correspondence online. Further prodding eventually reveal the PR firm to be working at the behest of Facebook – who subsequently came clean and admitted they were behind the whole sordid affair.

Facebook are unrepentant though – they believe Google are using personal data irresponsibly with Social Circle and were acting in the interest of users. How lucky for Facebook that the interest of those users are aligned with their own commercial interests!

Google have told reporters they need time to consider their response, which seems perfectly understandable given the outlandishness of events leading up to today.

As Dan Lyons points out in his Daily Beast article, this whole episode takes a considerable sheen off the Facebook brand and, despite Google’s almost universal failure in social endeavours, makes them seem a little fearful.

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