Facebook unleashes the hounds on Google
Facebook, the social media giant who has time and again positioned itself as the rebellious teenager of Internet platforms, has taken a stab at office politics within the digital realm.
Enlisting the help of Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s top PR firms, rumours have been going around cyberspace and Silicon Valley about Google’s latest venture into social media called Social Circle, and its attempts at invading personal privacy.
Initially, Burson-Marsteller pitched the story to various publications, both online and off, as well as to bloggers, urging them to investigate Google’s alleged collection of private data to build ‘personal dossiers’ on millions of their users.
When questioned by both digital privacy blogger Christopher Soghoian, and American newspaper USA Today, Burson refused to disclose the client for which the story was pitched.
It was only when online news site The Daily Beast discovered that Facebook was behind the ploy that both Facebook and Burson come forward to admit to the PR stunt.
According to Facebook and Burson, Google’s latest social media tool uses information from various social media platforms to gather personal and private information on users and their social circles, and this violates American federal fair trade rules.
The information is then made available for all Gmail users to use, explore and eventually make social connections with other social media users.
A Facebook spokesman told The Daily Beast that the company did indeed hire Burson under the belief that Google was breaching privacy laws and that the company was attempting to use Facebook data to benefit its own social media service.
Not only did Facebook attempt to pitch this story fail with both Soghoian and USA Today, both blogger and the news website posted evidence of Burson’s pitch publicly online.
Google, according to Millward Brown’s Most Valuable Global Brands 2011 is currently ranked the world’s second, worth USD$111,498 million. Facebook, on the other hand, is ranked 35th with a brand value of USD$19,102 million. This is however, also the first time that Facebook has made it onto the list.