Facebook has admitted to trying to slur the good name of Google - by hiring a PR company to dish the dirt on the web giant's security issues.

It seems that Facebook hired the PR company to pitch negative emails about Google to the press.

And, in a series of emails between PR firm Burson-Marsteller and blogger Chris Soghoian, for an article on Google's Social Circle, the Burson employee continually bad mouthed Google with outbursts along the lines of:

"Google, as you know, has a well-known history of infringing on the privacy rights of America’s Internet users. Not a year has gone by since the founding of the company where it has not been the focus of front-page news detailing its zealous approach to gathering information - in many cases private and identifiable information - about online users."

This aroused suspicion in Soghoian who asked who was funding the PR info. The rep refused to 'fess up, but Facebook has since admitted that it was indeed itself who paid, with a Facebook bod telling the Daily Beast the reasons why:

"First, because it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, because Facebook resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service."

It's reported that Burson also pitched stories about Google to the mainstream press, including USA Today.

It seems as if all's fair in love and tech....

Watch this space for Google's inevitable response.

Update: A Facebook spokesperson has contacted Pocket-lint to say:

"No 'smear' campaign was authorized or intended. Instead, we wanted third parties to verify that people did not approve of the collection and use of information from their accounts on Facebook and other services for inclusion in Google Social Circles—just as Facebook did not approve of use or collection for this purpose. We engaged Burson-Marsteller to focus attention on this issue, using publicly available information that could be independently verified by any media organization or analyst. The issues are serious and we should have presented them in a serious and transparent way.

“You and your readers can look at the feature and decide if they have approved of this collection and use of information by clicking here when their Google account is open:  http://www.google.com/s2/search/social. Of course, people who do not have Gmail accounts are still included in this collection but they have no way to view or control it."