Facebook smears Google's privacy policy

This year's PR fiasco ranks near the top of Facebook's long list of missteps. In May, the social network hired aggressive PR firm Burson-Marsteller to plant negative pieces about Google. Specifically, Facebook wanted to seed stories about Google invading its users' privacy -- something Facebook has plenty of experience with itself.

It was a classic smear campaign, and reporter Dan Lyons blew the whistle on it. Dragged into the light, Facebook admitted hiring Burson to publicize what it claimed were its very legitimate concerns about Google's use of personal data in its under-the-radar "Social Circles" feature. (One month later, that feature became part of Google , the company's frontal assault on Facebook.)

In the end, Facebook didn't own up to the real story -- that it attempted to play dirty with its biggest competitor -- and no one much cared about Google's alleged privacy violations. The story instead became Facebook's sloppy, shady hit job. -- Daniel Roberts

@CNNMoney - Last updated December 20 2011: 1:40 PM ET
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