I have chronicled Facebook’s problems on this site before, and there is no need for a re-hash; however, this latest “scandal” is a black eye, but hardly some sort of final blow.
I am actually surprised that Facebook hasn’t foreseen this scenario and already had a crisis management plan in place to react quickly and spin this themselves.
When I taught public speaking to college students, one major component was crisis communications. Companies had to be aware of potential scandals and be ready show things hit the fan. They could foresee a lot of potential trouble — all they had to do was look at their insurance policies and figure out some of the situations they could face.
Facebook, for whatever reason, didn’t, even though they faced a similar problem several years ago when it was revealed users were unwitting subjects in a mass experiment.
You have that many third parties leeching on to your site, it stands to reason that many of them could exploit the rigs to sell information or do something that goes against the rules — or common sense.
That they don’t have that strategy in place says a lot about the company — that they didn’t foresee that they’d ever have to deal with bad publicity.
But bad publicity doesn’t mean a company is finished. Once upon a time, some consumer terrorist poisoned bottles of Tylenol, resulting in people dying, and yet it is still on the shelves as it weathered the storm. What Facebook is associated with is hardly in the same boat. News Corps was embroiled in a phone hacking scandal — but in the end, one tabloid shut down, but the company survived.
They can easily get past this story.
But ironically, the New York Post — one by News Corp. — it spinning a dark narrative that Facebook has no to “win” of this mess when they have many outs here. The worst scenario has Mark Zuckerberg pushed out with someone else put in his place — new leader, new start. Shake up the executives to be more in tune with today’s realities, and all is forgiven.
They could also take steps — and public ones — to address the bigger issue of invasion of privacy — showing current examples of media and governmental snooping — expose how serious a problem this is — and their biggest critics are left defending themselves and having to explain their own hypocrisy in the matter.
There are at least a dozen other ways to handle it boldly where they turn their current disadvantages to advantages.
Journalists are a little too quick in hoping social media will just go away and they can go back throwing their weight around — but the advantages to Facebook as a communications tool is too great to just ignore.
So I don’t expect Facebook to die — but it all depends on how they handle themselves at the moment…