Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Anatomy of a poorly executed smear campaign.

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It all starts:  A mystery client hires top PR firm Burson-Marsteller to execute a smear campaign against Google by claiming that Google’s Social Circle violates the privacy rights of Gmail users.

May 3, 2011:  John Mercurio of Burson-Marsteller tries to convince a blogger to write an op-ed piece critical of Google which Mercurio claims he can get re-printed in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, The Huffington Post, and other “top-tier media outlets.  After turning down the opportunity with a skeptical “Who’s paying for this?”  The email exchange is made public on the internet.

May 6, 2011:  USAToday publishes an article outting former CNBC news anchor Jim Goldman and former political columnist John Mercurio as the two Burson employees behind the campaign.

May 12, 2011:  The Daily Beast uncovers and confirms that the mystery client is facebook.

Irony, thy name is Zuckerberg.

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Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of, apparently played it fast and loose in the area of privacy with his social networking prototype at Harvard, referring to those that submitted their personal information to his site as “dumb fucks.”

Now, I have a facebook account, and like many others, have noticed a disturbing trend toward the amount of your information that is left open to everyone by default.   That being said, because of this trend I periodically check my privacy settings to make sure that they are adjusted accordingly.  I also make sure that I don’t put every aspect of my life on public, or even semi-public display.  This goes for every social networking site on which I participate, not just facebook.

I don’t have a ton of sympathy for those who put their entire life on social networking sites and but then proceed to bitch about invasions of privacy.  These individuals are kind of like the people that whine about their weight while they’re eating six big Macs and a diet Coke.  On this level,  Zuckerberg has a point.

However, referring to the whole of your userbase, whether a few thousand or a hundred million, as “dumb fucks” shows what can happen when your company has a CEO just out of puberty with no adult supervision.

Anyhoo, I took the aforementioned article and posted on facebook, with all the privacy settings for that posting removed.

Who’s the dumb fuck now?