After the movie The Social Network premiered, Facebook took on heroic status. It was a Cinderella story about a company, founded by young entrepreneurs, who dreamed about breaking tradition and painting a fresh face on corporate America. We all thought the brains behind Facebook would be the quintessential do-gooders who used their billions to help us forge relationships so that the world be a kinder and nicer place.
Well, as it turns out — we were wrong. Yes, it seems that Facebook also has its share of corporate corruption like every other company on the planet. While they didn’t illegally dump toxic waste into the ocean or embezzle millions of dollars from their employees’ pension fund, they did a naughty thing. They spread vicious gossip about Google. Apparently, the folks at Facebook were ticked off because they believed Google was using Facebook data to expand their own social networking enterprise.
This is how the diabolical plan unfolded. Facebook hired a Public Relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, to plant negative stories about Google’s alleged lax privacy practices in the press. In an attempt to get the stories out there as quickly as possible, the PR firm urged journalists and bloggers to write the damaging posts. What the PR firm and Facebook didn’t count on was that one of the bloggers possessed a sense of ethics. Shocking, I know — right? Anyway, the blogger was so outraged at the entire plot that he posted the correspondence between him and the PR firm online which caught the attention of the media – not in the way Facebook wanted.
This is where I want to shout “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” or at least “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” I know as far as corporate competition goes, this isn’t that big a deal. This whole slander campaign is in fact so high-school, it’s laughable. It is somewhere between the pregnancy rumors that the mean girls spread to get revenge on the girl who stole the popular mean girl’s boyfriend and the made up stuff that the Tea Party throws out on a daily basis. As for Google, it may be a victim of a few nasty rumors, but I don’t see the company closing down shop because of this. I hope not anyway. I was really hoping to one day get a job there so I could eat at their gourmet cafeterias. I know, it’s a lofty goal, but I dare to dream.
Who knew that so much drama existed between competing companies? I always knew there were corporate spies and employees willing to leak confidential information for money, but to initiate gossip? Tsk. Tsk. I would like to meet the Facebook cast of characters or the PR people who devised this ill-fated and infantile idea. I have a few questions for them: 1. Didn’t your mothers teach you that spreading gossip was wrong? 2. Did you really think you would get away with this? 3. How old are you? I would expect this from a teenager. And last but not least – Do you know how disappointed I am in you?
I think the brilliant yet immature minds at Facebook need to be punished. I recommend we take away their accounts for a month. No posting on walls, no playing Cityville or Farmville, no joining groups and absolutely no posting of pictures that depicts their beer bong prowess. Yes, we should definitely ground Facebook. A few weeks of isolation and being out of touch with their one billion or so friends will teach Facebook that if you want to play in the big leagues, you have to act like a true big league player. Will the punishment work? I have my doubts. They will probably just join Twitter.