You can’t make 500 million friends without launching malicious smear campaigns against a few enemies

Google might be “evil” according to some, but we’ve never heard of the company launching a stealth smear campaign against one of its competitors in an effort to influence the media. That is what Facebook is said to have confirmed doing recently and, if true, the revelation could leave a sizable blemish on Facebook’s already tarnished public image. The Daily Beast on Thursday reports that Facebook hired PR firm Burson-Marsteller to attempt to persuade writers at several publications to publish Google-bashing pieces about the Internet giant’s “Social Circle” product invading users’ privacy. Privacy? How ironic. The campaign, shamefully led by two former journalists, backfired when a blogger Burson contacted decided to publish the firm’s emails. There is silver lining in all this, however: if Facebook is threatened enough that it is trying to pull off a catty stunt like this, Google might actually have a social offering worthy of Facebook’s, and our, attention.

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