Last Friday, USA Today reported that PR firm Burson-Marsteller had contacted a variety of news outlets pushing a story about how Google's "Social Circle" Gmail feature violates users' privacy. The pitch was made on behalf of an unnamed client that The Daily Beast later confirmed was Facebook.
When pressed, Facebook confirmed the hire to the Daily Beast, citing concerns it had with the way Google was using its data. It was also reportedly annoyed that Google was boosting its own social-networking services with information from Facebook.
"In other words, just as Google built Google News by taking content created by hundreds of newspapers and repackaging it, so now Google aims to build a social-networking business by using that rich user data that Facebook has gathered," Dan Lyons wrote for The Daily Beast.
Facebook and Google declined comment Thursday.