Facebook got caught, red handed. Period.
Reports surfaced early Thursday [5/12/11] that Facebook hired a PR firm to plant negative stories about Google. The firm, Burson-Marsteller, went out and solicited (tried to) bloggers, writers, journalists to have them write op-ed pieces about Google’s new Social Circle product.
The problem is, some of the people the firm solicited were wise enough to think twice. The idea, seemingly, was that the writers would work to ‘oust’ Google on “extreme privacy infringements” that the new Social Circle was committing (according to Facebook). [some info about social circle can be found on techcrunch.com]
One of the most interesting notes in this whole story is that FACEBOOK has been dealing with just as many Privacy issues since their inception and to us, it just makes no sense why they would want to draw any attention to the online privacy issues at all. Silly, Silly move Facebook.
Not only did this PR Firm pitch bloggers on stories going after Google, they even offered: to help write the stories, get them published on other sites, etc. This is pretty wild. This is not just dishonest and pretty ‘cowardly’, but straight up dumb.
Facebook has taken an issue, which played correctly could have generated some legitimate negative press for your top competitor and turned it around on themselves. Instead of drawing attention to Google and it’s privacy methods (or as far as FB is concerned, lack thereof), FB has instead drawn major negative press and exposure to its almost childish ‘battle tactics’.
To us, it also shows a very surprising change in the way Facebook is perceived, or more specifically, represents themselves. It has seemed, in the past, that Facebook is invincible, untouchable, ever confident when it comes to Social Media dominance. This latest move gives us a bit of a different view about how Facebook sees themselves in the highly competitive ‘social space’.
Is Facebook suddenly SCARED by the big bad Google and what they have in the works for social. It would seem so.
As we mentioned, even if some of the concerns raised by Facebook are valid, at this point it doesn’t matter. It is hard to trust what Facebook is saying now and hard to believe in the validity of their claims.
The story moving forward will be about Facebook trying to smear the ‘good name’ of innocent Google. Not only did they try, they got caught.
Facebook has simply failed miserably today. No other way to slice it.
Please like and comment and share this post of Facebook though because this is not going to stop me from using FB as I am sure it wont stop you either, lol.