The global communications firm that was just busted for trying to plant bogus anti-Google stories on behalf of Facebook, Burson- Marsteller, has issued a statement about its behaviour.
The statement blames Facebook:
“[T]his was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined.”
An earlier portion of the statement includes Facebook’s view of what it asked Burson-Marsteller to do: “bring public information to light.” The following paragraph, however, makes clear that Burson-Marsteller’s view is that that was not, in fact, what Facebook was asking Burson-Marsteller to do.
A major global firm knifing a major global client like this is rare, to say the least. We look forward to hearing Facebook’s view of the matter.
Burson-Marsteller has also acknowledged fault, saying “The assignment..should have been declined.” So it will also be interesting to see how, if at all, Burson disciplines the executives involved, including former CNBC tech reporter Jim Goldman.
Here’s Burson’s statement:
Now that Facebook has come forward, we can confirm that we undertook an assignment for that client.
The client requested that its name be withheld on the grounds that it was merely asking to bring publicly available information to light and such information could then be independently and easily replicated by any media. Any information brought to media attention raised fair questions, was in the public domain, and was in any event for the media to verify through independent sources.
Whatever the rationale, this was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined. When talking to the media, we need to adhere to strict standards of transparency about clients, and this incident underscores the absolute importance of that principle.