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Facebook Admits Hiring PR Firm To Smear Google 172

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the yeah-we-meant-to-do-that dept.
hasanabbas1987 writes "The clash of the Internet Giants reached new heights after a spokesman for Facebook confirmed to Daily Beast that Facebook paid a high level Public Relation firm to publish and spread stories against Google throughout the media to study various methods to examine the allegations that Google has been violating user privacy."
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Facebook Admits Hiring PR Firm To Smear Google

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    How dickish.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:36AM (#36105838)

      How dickish.

      Indeed it is. And Facebook is not the worst offender by far. Ever notice that when a critical Microsoft story comes up, we are bombarded by comments from certain people? dave420, x**xy**yo(or whatever), bing tsher, westlake, d'aldredge, and many more names that escape me now. Of course, when a pro-Google story pops up, the usual suspects are right there to jeer them down. It is tiresome. Then the sock puppet accounts come to mod up the shills and mod down any dissenters.

      Remember the Kin? Hordes of astroturfers came to tell us all that if we didn't see how a dumb-smartphone aimed at tweens with a plan of 80 dollars a month would succeed, we just didn't get it? Then the things sell less than 10000 units. Apparently nobody else got it either. Or the Zune HD? Took 10 seconds for the calculator app to start and then you were subjected to advertising to boot. But the shills kept screeching that it was just going to kill the iPod touch and they couldn't wait to sell "their" ipod to go get that piece of shit. And the shills keep telling us how good Vista was and how well 7 runs on netbooks even though it is slower than congealed shit. Of course, now the refrain is the iPad is just a "consumption" device and just wait for Windows 8. Yeah like $WINDOWS_CURRENT_VERSION's shortcomings will all be addressed when $WINDOWS_NEXT_VERSION comes out. Same refrain.

      Just know shills, that shit may have worked on OS/2 vs NT when you all flooded usenet but, the competitors are much stronger now and people apparently think a little more critically.

      If anyone really wants to see how the masters orchestrate this farce, start here [wikipedia.org]

      • by MrHanky (141717)

        I can't remember seeing anyone having anything positive to say about the Kin at any time. Are you sure you're not paid by Facebook to post anti-Microsoft comments to Slashdot to get us riled up against our traditional enemy so that we forget about the topic at hand for a while? Come to think about it, why isn't a comment about (the practically non-existent) pro-MS astroturfing, veering into criticism of their products, modded off topic? Moderators on the pay as well?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by flimflammer (956759)

            I'm clearly missing something here. Every single one of those posts merely suggests that the phones will appeal to someone. That looks nothing like what you were ranting on about.

            Clearly, your anti-Microsoft sentiment is showing in spades. You feel the need to exaggerate your claims and the need to post AC drives the point home. You can't even stand behind your own message.

            • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

              by goodmanj (234846) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @11:27AM (#36108384)

              Every single one of those posts merely suggests that the phones will appeal to someone.

              And if you click through to the authors' profile page to look at their other comments, they're pretty typical slashdot posters. They comment on space exploration, file sharing, Lord of the Rings Online, and liberal vs conservative politics. If these are shills, they're doing a lot of random blabbing on company time, and not much actual shilling.

          • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

            by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @10:23AM (#36107462) Journal

            Wow again!

            It's blatantly obvious that "...phones like this are going to have appeal to people who are looking one tier below a smart phone" is written by a marketing department lackey and not the type of person who would actually buy this phone.

            "OMG!!! i hav to hav this to sent pony texts to my bff!!!"

            That ^^^^ is the type of message an actual user of the Kin would send.

        • by Obyron (615547)
          Microsoft owns a chunk of Facebook, so I doubt it.
      • by hey! (33014)

        and how well 7 runs on netbooks even though it is slower than congealed shit.

        For the record I have a Lenovo S10-T atom based netbook/tablet convertible running Windows 7 and the speed is fine as far as I can see. On the other hand the tablet functionality is pure crap.

      • What is the difference between a shill and a fanboi? I know its hard for you (and frankly for me) to believe that anyone would be a MS fanboi, but they ARe out there.

        It boils down to human nature. Many people attach themselves to idea because they are either too lazy or unable to seperate those ideas from their identity and think critically. I make my money off of MS products (well MS and citrix, same thing). I am able to seperate myself from the tech that provides my paycheck. Im neither pro or anti MS. Ju

        • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

          by oakgrove (845019) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @10:16AM (#36107316)

          What is the difference between a shill and a fanboi?

          A shill is paid whether he likes the product or not, generally follows some sort of script and is usually an account manned by more than one person. It's really a coordinated attack on the truth. A fanboy genuinely likes the product and, though extreme, is actually representative of the true fan base. It's the difference between grass-roots and astroturf to use the terminology generally associated with the phenomenon.

          Real fanboys don't bother me because it's all in good fun but shills are pure poison and the practical differences are significant as what happened on usenet during the OS/2 NT wars. Say a product comes out and there are 10,000 people roaming around on the internet that actually care about it and post to message boards with a 50/50 distribution of for/against. Then a "relationship management" firm gets in the game with multiple shill accounts on the most important sites, i.e., Engadget, Slashdot, Zdnet, etc. It's not that hard to turn the conversation on its head with a coordinated campaign on a few target sites with the right kind of money in a specific time frame. Those 5000 people out of our hypothetical 10,000 can easily be drowned out by a room full of Indians shilling full time for the company du jour. This happens all of the time and has been going on for a while [catb.org].

        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

          by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @11:16AM (#36108212)

          What is the difference between a shill and a fanboi?

          The same as that between a whore and a girlfriend.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Whilst I don't disagree with you about the problem, you seem to naively believe that only Microsoft partake in this.

        It was only a few weeks ago we had two stories about Samsung in as many days that turned out complete and utter bullshit, just at the same time Samsung's phones and tablet was stealing a fair bit of the limelight from Apple at last. We regularly get feel stories about how Apple gave a free iPad to a guy whose wife told him to take it back, or how an iPhone survived a fall out a plane, or saved

      • by asdf7890 (1518587)
        To be fair, Windows 7 doesn't run too badly on a netbook with 1Gb RAM and a decent drive (i.e. not one of the slow SSDs that came with a lot of models a year or two ago), at least if you are using it mainly for web browsing and a little bit of other stuff. No worse than XP anyway (unlike Vista).

        Though Ubuntu (and no doubt any other distro, but that is the one I have significant personal experience of on netbooks) does work better, both the latest release (which a friend of mine uses in dual-boot with W7
        • by yuhong (1378501)

          No worse than XP anyway (unlike Vista).

          Yea, Vista was so bad for netbooks MS had to continue selling XP for them.

      • by N0Man74 (1620447)

        And how do you distinguish shills from the fanboys / antifanboys?

        • by oakgrove (845019)
          It's very hard to do. That's what makes the strategy so effective. Discretely speaking, unless the shill is really stupid, you can't say for sure. What you can do is look at a product such as the Kin phone where, despite the fact that it had many obvious objective deficiencies, was being touted large and wide as being a really great device. Often when someone disagreed with this rhetoric, that person was "shouted" down and told they "just don't get it." You can't really say if any one particular indivi
      • by Idbar (1034346)
        Hey, even though I hate Apple (for their pricing alienating practices rather than their products) I have to admit that Windows actually runs good on Netbooks because no Apple fan has come up with an Apple netbook. Otherwise, there would be 10 Slashdot stories about rumors, then other 10 about the implementation and then another 10 about how a netbook with MacOS flies and hovers on the air.

        No, seriously, there are all kind of people in this forums and I don't expect less, but It seems that it's the editor
    • Those in glass houses...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me or is the end of the summary not really intelligible?

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:21AM (#36105590)

    Facebook didn't hire them to publish stories against Google. That would be libel. They merely hired them to help educate the public about Google's anti-privacy practices that may violate the Consumer Protection Act. That's all. It's just part of Facebook's ongoing efforts to help educate us all and make us better consumers.

    And who better to educate us on privacy than Facebook, after all--a company well-known for its respect for user privacy?

    • Re:Summary is wrong (Score:4, Informative)

      by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:28AM (#36105702) Homepage

      Facebook didn't hire them to publish stories against Google. That would be libel.

      Not if the stories are true.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        I'm pretty sure Google would contend in a court of law that they are not. So that would at least mean the possibility of a lawsuit. If Facebook were to concede malice right off the bat, Google would already be halfway there. But nothing malicious about a mere educational campaign, right?

        • by Khyber (864651)

          "I'm pretty sure Google would contend in a court of law that they are not."

          Did you already forget the story either yesterday or before about Yahoo, Google, etc sending out a letter to California Legislature stating essentially that if they were not allowed to violate our privacy, the economy would go to shit?

          That's the first piece of evidence I'd submit against them to show they're full of shit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mysidia (191772) *

        Not if the stories are true.

        They don't have to be true to avoid being libel.

        They just have to avoid sufficient provable malice or negligence rising to the level of malice for a claim of libel to succeed.

    • They merely hired them to help educate the public about Google's anti-privacy practices that may violate the Consumer Protection Act.

      Personally I *LIKE* it when Facebook or anyone else calls out another companies questionable privacy policies; even if it comes from one of the biggest offenders themselves. I hope this inspires Google to help call out questionable privacy policies of Facebook too.

      It's just like when China and the US point fingers at each other or Human Rights violations. I vehemently disagree with those who say the US shouldn't criticize China until it looks at it's own abuses or vice-versa. IMHO it's good any tim

  • To distract the public from their own misdoings? Where do their business models collide?
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Saint Fnordius (456567) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:26AM (#36105668) Homepage Journal

      I guess Buzz and Google's other efforts really did scare them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by miffo.swe (547642)

        You know what? I think Buzz works very well and i like it, much because of the people using it. Instead of a crazed cacophony of updates i couldn't care less about i can read interesting stuff from people i know wont degenerate into pre-pubertal shouting.

        • by martyros (588782)

          i can read interesting stuff from people i know wont degenerate into pre-pubertal shouting.

          You've got the wrong friends.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      On Facebook your having web 2.0 fun with real people you know. Only old people search with text strings and get watched by the NSA.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:23AM (#36105632) Homepage

    ...hiring a native speaker to edit their English language edition. Anyone who has successfully completed third grade could help them.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Slashdot editors failed 3rd grade? That's unpossible.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:33AM (#36105798) Journal

    This is why the dumbing-down of our educational system is so tragic.

    The fact is that we have access to more information than any people in history, but if one is unable to think CRITICALLY about the data, it's almost worse than useless.

    Why, do you suppose, Fox News is telling us about Obama's latest gaffe?
    Why, do you suppose, a failed presidential candidate makes a movie telling us how the world is going to hell?

    Certainly, the basic information could be true or false; more likely it's a careful presentation of the factual or a blend of fact and supposition in order to encourage a specific response in the reader.

    Without a good education we're unable to participate as useful citizens, and are merely a remotely-controlled 'demographic' that marches according to what the media tells us to. Sadly, this programming has always been with us and always will. The educational system used to program us to be good, unquestioningly patriotic citizens, but at least squeezed in some knowledge in the meanwhile. Now it programs our kids into reflexive iconoclasts, that they are 'good' regardless of what they do, and that their self-esteem is far more important than any silly facts, particularly if those facts came from dead white men.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Has the education system EVER been about being able to think critically about the data? Prior to "higher education", it seems to go out of the way to discourage it.
    • The fact is that we have access to more information than any people in history, but if one is unable to think CRITICALLY about the data, it's almost worse than useless.

      Having ACCESS to the data, and having the data itself in front of you are two completely different things. Do you think that I'm going to spend my day looking for hard facts about Google or any other company I don't really care about. I have things to do!!

      This is all about the media industry and its _actual_ role as a hired out propaganda apparatus. Wealthy interests pay newspapers, radio and TV station to publish the stories those interests wish to see published. That's how the media operates and that's how it will _always_ operate.

      All that claptrap about "the free press" and "guardians of democracy" is a pile of cow dung, as anyone who lived through the last 10 years can easily tell. Read your history books and you will see that it has always been thus. The media consists almost entirely of hired shills, whose job it is to influence your opinion in exchange for money. This story is simply and admission by one of their clients.

      Todays Fun Fact: Most PR employees are in fact former journalists(or journalism majors).

      • by Sprouticus (1503545) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @10:01AM (#36107110)

        Perfect example of this is the spanish-American War which was fermented (but not initiated) almost by newspapers in New York. Pulitzer and Hearst should be curses.

      • All that claptrap about "the free press" and "guardians of democracy" is a pile of cow dung, as anyone who lived through the last 10 years can easily tell. Read your history books and you will see that it has always been thus.

        This is true only if U.S. history begins at World War II. In the late 1800s and early 1900s there were labor papers which were mainly subscription supported, with local news, educational articles, and union events. There were many of these, some small, some with a broader reach. For example as late as the 1930s the Institute for Propaganda Analysis [wikimedia.org], which taught people how to read and think critically, had significant influence.

        The media consists almost entirely of hired shills, whose job it is to influence your opinion in exchange for money.

        While this is generally true of US corporate news, here are four exceptions: Amn [amnesty.org]

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      If you think that government-run schools want to produce people who are capable of critical thinking, then you're probably a product of the government-run school system.

  • ...if Mark just created a Google is anti-privacy page on Facebook and paid people to 'like' it.
    • That would be about as effective as the "If Facebook doesn't stop fucking with us, we will stop using it!" pages that were created on Facebook.
  • “The American people must be made aware of the now immediate intrusions into their deeply personal lives Google is cataloging and broadcasting every minute of every day-without their permission.”

    Never mind the immediate intrusions that facebook allows by making everything public by default, until you navigate to each individual item's options and raise the security settings to ensure not everyone can see it. But that was 'with your permission' I guess?

    But we at facebook who brag about
  • Put this on pause (Score:4, Informative)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:44AM (#36105952) Homepage Journal

    The reporter "confirming" the story is Mr. Dan "Linux stole from SCO!" Lyons. A stopped clock twice a day and all that, but I wouldn't trust Lyons to report that water is wet and the sky is blue. I'd wait for confirmation from reputable sources before getting on opinion on this.

    • My stopped clock is only correct once a day. I use a 24 hour clock you insensitive clod!
    • To be fair Mr. Lyons admitted he was wrong and he was fooled by SCO. [slashdot.org]. It appears that Mr. Lyons simply didn't investigate SCO's claims thoroughly before espousing his opinion. Maybe from now on, he will be more skeptical.
      • That's very true, and I respect that he fessed up and admitted it. No hemming and hawing - he flat-out said that he was wrong. But for four years, by his own admission he cheerfully accepted SCO's claims at face value and repeated them to his audience. Because of that, I don't give him any credibility in any other venue. That may change if his track record stays better than it had been, but that won't happen for me any time soon.

        • I might be mixing Lyons up with some other big-name proponent of SCO, but didn't he also blame his failure to think critically on slashtards? Something about how all the vociferousness just made him want to double-down rather than actually apply any critical thinking?

  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:49AM (#36106020) Homepage Journal

    Google - Don't be evil.
    Microsoft - Be incompetent.
    Intel - Be oligopolistic.
    Dell - Be beige.
    Acer - Be shoddy.
    HP - Be recurrent.
    Cisco - Be expensive.
    Sony - Be invasive.
    Twitter - Terse.
    Apple - Be exclusive.
    Facebook - Be evil.

  • As a way of deflecting criticism, it is the first bit of rhetoric we all learn in our lives.

    And it apparently works in kindergarten, national politics, and corporate PR warfare.

  • I don't trust either pan to hold my data. I might get burned.

    • by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Thursday May 12, 2011 @10:43AM (#36107746) Homepage Journal

      So, why don't you trust Google to hold your data, out of curiosity. I'm biased for various reasons, but I think it's a fair question to ask. I trust my bank to hold my data, even though I'm pretty sure they abuse it (after calling to ask about a refinance of my mortgage, for example, I got 5 cold-calls about mortgages in 2 days). I trust my ISP with my private data even though I'm pretty sure they have a direct tap for warrantless wiretapping. I trust all sorts of entities with my data who I know to be lying bastards, but I've never known Google to be such.

      Everyone I know who works for them honestly believes that they try to do the right thing as often as they can. My friends who work for Yahoo! don't say that. My friends who work for Amazon don't quite say that, though they think it's better than most. My friends who work for many large corporations laugh a little or just get real quiet if you ask them that...

      So the evidence that I have at my disposal says that:

      1) Google's S1 filing [udel.edu] is fairly honest (go read it... it's fascinating)

      2) Google is, at worst, an altruistic company that may well change over time.

      3) Given the choices that you do make to share personal data (with banks, ISPs, etc.) Google looks pretty good.

  • by SiChemist (575005) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:16AM (#36106422) Homepage

    Here's a link to the original article if anyone wants to read about it without the inventive grammar and composition of the awful linked blog post:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-05-12/facebook-busted-in-clumsy-smear-attempt-on-google/ [thedailybeast.com]

  • ...Facebook is its own negative-PR department.

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