It's quite OK to smear Google

A top PR expert has said that it was perfectly reasonable for Facebook to smear Google and claims such antics are standard practice.

Last week the social notworking site was named and shamed as having covertly hired Burson Marsteller, a top PR firm, to spread negative stories about Google to the US press.

However Richard Hillgrove, who owns Hillgrove PR told the Telegraph that the actions of Burson Marsteller were “standard practice”, nothing to see here, move on please.

Hillgrove said that it was standard practice in PR to point out the weaknesses of a rival company to that of your client.

He said that Facebook sparked open warfare in dotcom land and has to fight back, especially now Google is supposed to be launching a social network.

Hillgrove’s argument is that everyone does it and Google could not be seen as a victim.

Google was a huge corporation and Facebook’s tactics were not surprising as the digital space is competitive and ruthless, he said. .

Burson Marsteller has backtracked on the whole thing saying that it was a mistake to have taken on the assignment and agreed to hide the Facebook’s identity:

But Hillgrove said not naming your client was a bit of a “grey area” of PR. It happens, especially in politics, according to the Telegraph.

Facebook insists that no ‘smear’ campaign was authorised or intended. It just wanted third parties to verify that people did not approve of the collection and use of information from their accounts on Facebook and other services for inclusion in Google Social Circles.