Courtesy The Onion

Afraid of Google? Really?

For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley. Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.

Also from Burson: “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.”

But who was the mysterious unnamed client? While fingers pointed at Apple and Microsoft, The Daily Beast discovered that it’s a company nobody suspected—Facebook.

Confronted with evidence, a Facebook spokesman last night confirmed that Facebook hired Burson, citing two reasons: first, it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, Facebook resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.

The mess, seemingly worthy of a Nixon reelection campaign, is embarrassing for Facebook, which has struggled at times to brand itself as trustworthy. But even more so for Burson-Marsteller, a huge PR firm that has represented lots of blue-chip corporate clients in its 58-year history. Mark Penn, Burson’s CEO, has been a political consultant for Bill Clinton, and is best known as the chief strategist in HIllary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Zuckerberg’s college-kid style reinforces the doubts of those who see the decision to keep Facebook independent as a lapse in judgment. After this sorry, clumsy episode, Facebook no longer seems so invincible. In fact, they almost seem a little bit afraid.

  1. What? says:

    He will likely be alone in old age if he doesn’t fix himself.

  2. Buzz Mega says:

    Needs a new name. I vote for “FacePlant.”

  3. So what says:

  4. Joshua says:

    Greetings Professor Falken.

    A strange Game.
    The only winning move is
    not to play.

  5. Milo says:

    I make the assumption that all news these days is Astroturf and am seldom disappointed.

    [And that’s exactly our purpose in providing you this quality entertainment. — Ed.]

  6. pben says:

    Tuesday I found out that the little shit can’t design a web site. He happily gave all the personal data to any any other idiot that could slap together a Facebook app. Now I find out that the little shit can’t even stand up for a fair fight with Google. Five years of Facebook, will they be around in another five years? If I had to bet the little shit will be around, slime like him always win. He will happily give their user to any government and the government will pull all the strings need to protect their little snitch.

  7. KMFIX says:

    Facebook will be worth what MySpace is worth in the next few years. Someone will do what you do, but better, and everyone will move on…

    Cash that check while it’s big fat Mark!

  8. BigBoyBC says:

    I hope Google bankrupts the little b@!#%*

  9. McCullough says:

    I don’t do Facebook, or Twitter, or Gmail, There’s a reason for that. I advise my clients to do the same.

    But, most don’t want to hear the truth. Surprisingly though, some are starting to get it. Not the kiddies though…they’re doomed. They aren’t going to listen to an old man.

  10. deowll says:

    #9 You are right but how do you expect people to do email or use the web without having everything turned over to whoever wants it?

    Even if you know facebook is spy city it is very useful. I’m not on it yet but my family is.

    I’m on twitter but if I post…

    If you use cell phones or any phones you are wide open. Credit and debit cards? Ditto.

    Even if you use criptome how can you know it doesn’t have a back door?

    So far the only place left that is still private is your thoughts and they are working on those.

    The only thing holding the new overlords even slightly in check is they can’t handle all the data.

  11. Oldchool. Relevantly speaking, degrading one another for a benefit who knows, G might as well doing underhanded, perhaps? I stand between the two and never can anyone make me move. I adore both parties.

  12. Dallas says:

    I trust Google more than Facebook.

    Very disappointed in theme hiring some SwiftBoat-like, slimeball, cesspool outfit for this.

  13. jescott418 says:

    Talk about the “Pot calling the Kettle Black”.

  14. McCullough says:

    #10. Since my identity theft, I have been shutting down. It’s been years but there are ways. I use a disposable phone, but only make and receive calls for business. Credit cards are reserved for only the most trusted of vendors. Cash most of the rest of the time. Google for most business searches but for anything I care to keep personal.

    I know it’s not perfect, but I just cannot justify putting my life out there on a site like Facebook or Twitter. Its just too easy for the “evil doers” to take advantage.

    Evil doers…I love that term.

  15. R U Serious says:

    Yeah, I always trust giant corporations run by power-mad billionaires. It’s the only sensible policy. After all, they CARE about me! I know that for a fact because, the more evil they get, the more likely they are to air cutesy commercials with homemade acoustic guitar music and some beloved old actor whispering in an avuncular voice, “At PsychoCorp, the only reason we even get up in the morning and bother to open our doors is because of our deep, abiding love for YOU.” God, it just brings tears to my eyes, knowing that I can SAFELY trust my data AND my money to folks with a deep, abiding sense of moral and ethical responsibility.

    In fact, I think we’ll ALL be better off when we just do away with this sham we call government, and let THESE folks control everything DIRECTLY. I know it’s what the Founding Fathers had in mind, yessir.

  16. dittmv says:

    Google = Large Collection of data about people
    Facebook = Large Collection of data about people

    Google = Provider of an ineffective advertising platform
    Facebook = Provider of an an effective advertising platform

    Google = Provider of stuff perpetually in beta
    Facebook = Provider of a platform to distribute stuff perpetually in beta

    I guess the lesson to this is, if you want to have a huge database about people that rivals anything that the East German government had collected, see to it that you distribute beta software to the masses rather than simply being the conduit.

  17. Rich says:

    Tech question re Google- Weeks ago I went to Google Translate and entered a term to be translated. Recently after multiple empties of all caches, cookies, super cookies, history etc., I went back and my old search term was in the box. What happened?

  18. What? says:

    All of you are belong to us.

  19. Mr. Fusion says:

    Some organizations don’t want to die a natural death. They insist on hurrying up the process.

  20. MikeN says:

    And how many of these stories ended up on

  21. bobbo, words have a meaning and a context says:

    Here’s an asswipe that named his kid “Facebook.” He’s Egyptian, might be a cultural thing?

  22. invoice004 says:

    Carry on blogging! its getting by approach of the robust instances that make you stronger and then the good occasions will comply with, hold writing about your experiences and we must always all pull together.


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