Facebook secretly hired a leading PR firm to plant negative stories about internet rival Google, Newsweek tech editor Dan Lyons has revealed.
Writing on the Daily Beast website, which is owned by the same company that runs Newsweek, Lyons reports on how the move has backfired on Facebook and escalated the ‘war’between the two companies.
USA Today first broke a story about how top PR firm Burson-Marsteller had embarked on a ‘whisper campaign’about Google ‘on behalf of an unnamed client.”
Lyons revealed that:
Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post. The plot backfired when the blogger turned down Burson’s offer and posted the emails that Burson had sent him.
When confronted with the evidence a Facebook spokesman confirmed it had hired Burson, and Lyons said it had done so for two reasons:
First, it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, Facebook resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.
The latest battle between the two internet giants is related to a Google tool called Social Circle, a potential rival to Facebook. Lyons described the resulting fallout as a mess ‘seemingly worthy of a Nixon reelection campaign”.