Source Marketing Direct is unsure whether to continue using Facebook as a social networking tool after leaks that the corporation paid a PR company to publish negative pieces in popular US media about their rival Google.
It has now been confirmed that social networking giant Facebook hired PR Company, Burson-Marsteller, to write about Google’s social circle, with what can be called nothing but a negative spin and release the articles for the public’s viewing with media outlets like USA Today and The Washington Post. Source Marketing Direct like many businesses uses Facebook as a promotional business tool and is now deliberating whether to continue using the site after this issue was bought to public attention in The Times last week. The main concern for Source Marketing Direct is that it does not want to be associated with “bad ethos” as explained by Hector Montalvo, Managing Director of the London based marketing and sales company.
A Facebook representative told the Inquirer that it was not intended as a smear campaign against Google, but rather they were trying to bring to light privacy concerns related to Google’s new Social Circle. However, Facebook did admit in relation to the concerns “we should have presented them in a serious and transparent way” (The Inquirer, May 2011). The social circle function pulls individuals information from third party sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, You Tube, My Space and so forth to make connections between users. Facebook believe that the collection and use of this information is not controlled appropriately and is a privacy concern for Google and non Google users. Unfortunately for Facebook, the public and indeed Source Marketing Direct have been much less concerned over the apparent privacy concern with the Google function, and much more interested in Facebook’s failed attempt to dirty Googles image.
Hector Montalvo, Managing Director of Source Marketing Direct comments “Call me old school, but I’ve always believed in looking people in the eye and shaking their hand. I am not all that surprised at what has happened – slandering competitors is definitely not a new phenomenon, even as a small business owner I have encountered similar issues from competitors. I guess the bigger you get the easier a target you become for this kind of thing, I have had people deliberately slander us only to call the next day and ask for money to revoke it. It is disturbing to know that there are people out there that exploit their freedom of speech for their own personal gain. I just hope that this was not Facebook’s true intention. We are a small company with highly valued clients so while our own company branding is not initiated at a huge magnitude; we want to protect it. I have worked hard over the past 10 years to present Source Marketing Direct to the public and our clients as a reputable industry leader and I do not want to be associated with any bad ethos, I think Facebook is a really valuable business tool but we will be having a think about whether to continue with them”.