The controversy erupted Tuesday after Google spokesperson Randall Safara posted a video on Google+ that appeared to show how Facebook was limiting the spread of Google+ invites. In the video, Safara posts a Google+ invite on his Facebook page, then demonstrates that the post with the invite did not appear in his friends’ News Feeds — even though other posts went through with no problem.
Google Senior Vice President of Social Vic Gundotra thenreposted the video. “We are getting reports of Google+ invite links not showing up on Facebook news feeds anymore,” he said. “I wonder how widespread this problem is?”
But replicating the results of the video haven’t been easy. Most Google+ users say they can share Google+ invites on their Facebook pages just fine. Our own testing shows that Google+ invites are not being blocked by Facebook.
For its part, Facebook denies that it’s doing anything underhanded. “We have seen the video but have been unable to replicate the experience it shows,” the company said in a statement. It also explained that the News feed is an algorithmic product that takes hundreds of factors into account. Links or posts may not show up in friends’ feeds for any number of reasons.
Google said yesterday that it hadn’t contacted Facebook directly about the issue; the company evidently decided to take it to the public first.
This is just the latest episode in the drama between Facebook and Google. In May, a plot by a PR firm representing Facebook to plant anti-Google stories in the press was exposed, igniting a firestorm of controversy.VIDEO