The campaign was uncovered on May 3, when blogger Chris Soghoian posted emails he had received from BM's John Mercurio. "I wanted to gauge your interest in authoring an op-ed this week for a top-tier media outlet on an important issue that I know you're following closely," Mercurio wrote.
"The topic: Google's sweeping violations of user privacy. Google, as you know, has a well-known history of infringing on the privacy rights of America's Internet users. Not a year has gone by since the founding of the company where it has not been the focus of front-page news detailing its zealous approach to gathering information - in many cases private and identifiable information - about online users."
Soghoian asked who was paying BM, but was rebuffed. He declined to pursue the opportunity.
The PR campaign had been fairly extensive, according to USA Today. The campaign was "about how an obscure Google Gmail feature --Social Circle-- ostensibly tramples the privacy of millions of Americans and violates federal fair trade rules."
(Read our coverage of Circles.)
Google has recently been knocked back on its heels due to a raid of its offices in Seoul, South Korean and facing a U.S. Senate hearing about location-tracking in its Android phones.
According to the Daily Beast:
"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."
To say that Facebook accusing Google of mishandling privacy issues is hypocritical would be an understatement. (Along the lines of Baby Face Nelson accusing John Dillinger of a lax attitude toward firearm safety.) The opposite would be equally true.
In jabbing at the motes in each other's eyes, both companies have clearly gone blind.
Other sources: Boingboing