Burston-Marsteller, a public consultancy recently came forward earlier this week saying that Facebook had hired the company to pull off a smear campaign against Google’s social networking service, Social Circles. Burston-Marsteller sent major news outlets pitches about the privacy and legal issues concerning the service. Apparently Google Social Circles allows users to view information publicly available of other users connected to their Google Chat and Contacts, and includes data such as Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds and personal websites.
Wondering what the fuss was about, I checked out Google Social Circles and saw what information was listed. Turns out, it’s nothing that people wouldn’t have known already if they bothered checking out my friends list on my social network accounts, i.e. Twitter. While some people wouldn’t like such information to be collated and put together in an accessible list, it’s really no big deal. Then again, if you’ve decided to create an account on a social network in the first place, expect it to be discovered online – after all it’s called a social network for a reason.
Anyway, it looks like this move didn’t really do anything and brought a bad light upon Facebook for taking the low road in this situation. After admitting it was behind the smear campaign, Facebook publicly pledged that they would never do such a thing like that again in the future. It will resort to complete transparency over such issues instead of hiring a PR consultancy to do the dirty work in the future. How many of you were bothered over concerns raised over Google Social Circles?