Facebook outed as source of anti-Google PR smear campaign

Facebook is reported to have hired public relations firm Burson-Marstellar to generate negative stories about Facebook competitor Google— specifically, "urging [journalists] to investigate claims that Google was invading people's privacy." Well that's rich.

One of their targets was Christopher Soghoian, a security researcher and blogger, who is no chump. Things did not work out as planned.

Dan Lyons chronicles the epic "Keystone Kops"-like routine at The Daily Beast.

Soghoian has posted the email exchange he had with Burson-Marstellar here.

At Wired News, Sam Gustin writes,

In the annals of shady public relations stunts, Facebook's attempt to surreptitiously plant negative — and highly misleading — stories about Google into leading media outlets will surely go down as one of the most ham-handed in recent memory.

Ham-handed it may be, but as Declan McCullagh of CNET noted on Twitter today, there is precedent.

(Image: Facebook, a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from fbouly's photostream)