Tech wrap: Facebook smear campaign blows up

May 12, 2011

Facebook admitted to hiring PR firm Burson-Marsteller to plant negative stories about Google, The Daily Beast reported. Burson urged journalists to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy and offered to help privacy advocate Christopher Soghoian write an op-ed on the matter for national newspapers. The plot backfired when Soghoian rejected Burson’s offer and posted online an email exchange between them.

Facebook adopted a warning service to help users avoid clicking on dubious Internet links. The new warning service by Finnish startup Web of Trust calculates the reputation of 31 million Web pages and updates the ratings twice an hour, based on feedback from some 20 million users.

The recent hacker attack at Sony and other corporate data breaches are attracting more class-action lawyers eager to score a payday, though huge monetary settlements may be elusive, writes Dan Levine. At least 25 lawsuits have been filed against Sony in U.S. federal courts over the theft of user data from the PlayStation game network, according to Westlaw, a Thomson Reuters legal database. The challenge for plaintiffs’ lawyers lies in establishing a loss of value or additional costs suffered because of a hack, Levine adds.

NTT DoCoMo and Twitter will jointly develop a location-based alerting service for smartphone users based on tweets, the Nikkei business daily said. The deal will be announced on Friday and the services are expected to be launched this winter. Twitter will remove data that could identify users, before using the stored tweets for the service, the business daily said.

AT&T promised to give Deutsche Telekom $6 billion in assets, services and cash as a break-up fee if U.S. regulators reject its proposed $39 billion buy of the German company’s T-Mobile USA, sources said.

Microsoft’s legal battle, once a distraction to its top executives when they could have been at their most creative, ended as court oversight of Microsoft expired with little or no fanfare, writes Diane Bartz. And now that it is schooled in antitrust law, Microsoft wants Google to be regulators’ next focus, Bartz adds.

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[...] the issue by name but it is pretty clear the press on Burson-Marsteller’s involvement in the Facebook Smear Campaign against Google is not helping his brand.  His best quote was for companies to ask themselves, “What is our [...]