Facebook, whose user privacy infractions have been widely criticized by the press, the blogosphere and the government is turning the tables on one its primary Internet rivals. Apparently what's good for the golden goose is not good for Google - as Facebook is involved in an alleged smear campaign to expose the search giant's attempts at infringing on netizens' privacy rights.
According to a story that broke in the Daily Beast
this week, it appears that a top-notch public relations firm was hired by Team Zuckerberg to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people's privacy.
In the graphic novel, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks
," the authors plotted a story-line that involved an alternative premise for Facebook to undermine Google's credibility. Instead of taking a convert route, Zuckerberg (aka Z-Man) openly appealed to his mass following of 600+ million followers (aka Dumb F*cks) to aid him in overtaking Google (aka Gobble).Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
Instead of hiring the PR firm of Burson-Marsteller, Z-Man hatches a plan to expose Google's ineptness for what he describes as "lacking the social media gene
."Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
In real-life, Facebook also wants to cut off Google's social media legs
, by accusing the Big G of accessing Facebook data to develop their own social network. However, based on the search engine's failed attempts and lackluster success with previous ventures in this space -including Orkut
, Googe Me
and Google +1
- it's odd that Facebook would stoop to the level of muckraking.
According to the report, Google's latest venture called "Social Circle
" lets users with Gmail accounts retrieve information not only about their friends but also data that's obtained from "secondary sources" like Facebook. Burson, in its pitch to journalists, claimed Social Circle was "designed to scrape data and build deeply personal dossiers on millions of users - in direct and flagrant violation of [Google's] agreements with the FTC.
Facebook also has struggled at branding itself as trustworthy. Last August, a similar scandal arose when TechCrunch's Michael Arrington
leaked a rumor that Zuckerberg "knew all about Google's social product plans, and has obtained copies of proprietary Google documents outlining their social strategy."
Described as a "mess, seemingly worthy of a Nixon reelection campaign
," these tactics should be embarrassing for the social network that leads all others in followers and revenues. But I guess the stakes are high, and Zuckerberg sees it necessary to cover his flanks - no matter what the cost to his reputation.
While this story is stranger that fiction, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks
" actually doesn't see the search giant as much a threat to Facebook as a socialist market economy located in Southeast Asia. Seeking to dominate the Internet globally, the satirical tale points to "China" as Z-Man's major challenge, not Google.
But for those that are following the news, in this case, Facebook's not using a PR agency as its weapon of choice - but rather the old military tactic known as 'divide and conquer.' At last report, Facebook was in negotiations with Baidu (China's Google) to establish a Chinese version of Facebook. Ironically, as the social network keeps its "friends" close, Zuckerberg has learned its important to keep your enemies even closer. (For more on this topic, see "Facebook.cn Forges Past Firewall To Access China's Ad Dollars & World Domination?
" and "Will Facebook See The Light Of Day In The Shadow of China's Firewall
Looking back five years from now, Google may be just a blip on Facebook's radar. And assuredly, at the end of the day, there will be no clear winners in this race for Internet dominance. The end game for FB could be obtaining the private data of others by potentially going up against a regime that refuses to even recognize those rights. Who's the winner in that scenario? You choose.Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel