Burson-Marsteller Hits the Delete Button

A sticky situation has gotten stickier for Burson-Marsteller—and, by extension, for all PR agencies. After days of reports about its work on behalf of Facebook to advance negative stories in the media about Google—while not revealing that it was working on behalf of Facebook—B-M deleted negative posts relating to its work for Facebook on its own Facebook page. On May 13, Wired.com reported that B-M censored a post, leading to a statement to Wired.com from B-M that it would put the post back. B-M has since revised its Facebook posting policy.

As of Sunday, May 15, B-M's Facebook page included many critical comments, as well as a link to the Wired.com story. This is as it should be.

The B-M/Facebook episode has left the profession with a black eye, so anything that can lead to cries of censorship among the Facebook community can only intensify the damage. B-M should certainly delete profanity, but a healthy and open discussion of the issues should be allowed to flourish.

In the long run, this is going to be a painful, but useful, learning experience for PR agencies. It'll never be business as usual again. It's a socially connected world, and transparency is the coin of the realm.


Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Media Relations Conference


Join us on December 11, 2014, for PR News’ essential Media Relations Conference, taking place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. You'll learn from top PR professionals how to amplify your organization’s messages through positive coverage in traditional media and through your own branded content initiatives.

Use code “150off” at checkout.

Get $50 off PR News' Media Relations Guidebook


This 8-chapter resource contains practical implications for some of the most innovative developments in media relations, including the technologies, methodologies and mannerisms that determine the ecosystem in which PR pros practice this essential part of their craft.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription

Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

  • Tiim Conner

    Really itching to hear what Harold has to say….

  • Andrew Ciccone, Medi

    Don’t post anything on-line if you are not prepared to defend what you’ve said.
    Prepare your self and brand for re-posts of your past tweets months and years from now. Every post is a digital image that has an infinite shelf life.