In a scandal rocking the Internet, Facebook has been accused of secretly hiring a PR company to plant negative stories about Google in a full fledged smear campaign.
Apparently, Facebook hired major PR firm Burson-Marseteller to pitch anti-Google stories to bloggers and journalists, which was made worse when one member of the firm offered to help one blogger, Chris Soghoian, write a Google bashing article, according to a report in
A spokesperson for Facebook said the company hired the firm in order to fight back against Google's planned Social Circle, which uses some of Facebook's data. In addition, it believes that the Mountain View, Calif. company's efforts in social networking raise some privacy concerns,
Facebook issued an official statement in response to take responsibility.
"We engaged Burson-Marsteller to focus attention on this issue, using publicly available information that could be independently verified by any media organization or analyst," the statement said. "The issues are serious, and we should have presented them in a serious and transparent way."
It will be interesting to see Google's next steps as it continues to tread into Facebook's territory for social network dominance,
Facebook is the world's largest social network with more than 500 million members while Google dominates the Internet search market.
The two Web giants are waging a fierce battle over online advertising and how people navigate the Internet.
Google, whose own social networking efforts have largely been failures, does not send Web surfers to Facebook, for example, and vice versa.
The Mountain View, California-based is currently winning the fight for advertising dollars.
Google's share of overall US online advertising revenue is estimated to grow to 43.5% this year from 38.9% last year, according to eMarketer, while Facebook's share rises to 7.7% from 4.7%, according to
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