Facebook has allegedly hired PR firm Burson-Marsteller to badmouth Google’s social networking, Google Circles. Unfortunately for Facebook, the smear campaign backfired on them and the PR firm. Although Facebook denied it was a smear campaign, the damage to their reputation has already been done. This is just one more battle scar from the war between the two Internet giants, Facebook and Google. According to an article written by Eric Ernest, PCWorld, “News of Facebook's ill advised anti-Google campaign initially came to light when a blogger, who had been approached by Burson-Marsteller, published their e-mail communication. The irony of this situation has not been lost on neutral observers with many questioning how Facebook, a company whose own record in dealing with user privacy is rather dismal, can try to point out the faults with Google instead of trying to clean their own house up. ”
Google Circles claims to be unique. Google Circles will allow people to have different social circles, thereby sharing photos, videos, and status messages with people in a specific social circle. Google says their social networking works by differentiating and respecting the different social circles we already share with online friends, family and colleagues. Google Circles lets you decide the content we share with our networks, and seems to be less invasive than Facebook. This is different than how Facebook operates, where they post people for you to add as friends because you have mutual friends. You can click on their profile and decide if you want to send a request for friendship to them. Another big difference is in perception. You can stay logged in to Gmail (Google) all day at work with no questioning looks from your boss. The same is not true for being logged into Facebook all day at work.
Facebook shouldn’t throw stones. With Facebook’s reputation for leaking private information about their subscribers, Facebook shouldn’t be trashing anyone about violating user privacy. After the blog came out about Burson-Marsteller being hired by Facebook, Facebook certainly had egg on its face. As the article in PC World stated, “…if Google's apparent violation of user's privacy was so serious, why didn't Facebook itself come out and say these things openly?” The smear campaign is certainly unprofessional at best, and really more than that. It is probably the basis for a lawsuit.
This is probably not the last we will hear about the war between Facebook and Google. As things become more competitive, the war will heat up. Personally I think that neither social site acts totally responsible when it comes to protecting your privacy. But with all social networking, and the Internet itself, there is no such thing as real privacy any longer. What about you, are you worried about your privacy? Do you use Facebook? How about Google Circles?
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