In 2018, the Facebook Company has faced a major controversy regarding its breach of privacy. Uncovered through intensive investigations, reliable information about the company’s data-sharing policies was found. In particular, a concerning connection to a group Cambridge Analytica caught the media’s attention (Facebook value drops by $37bn amid privacy backlash 2018). Generally, social media sites such as Facebook collect their user’s data in order to resell it or use it to better their own services. While data collection from multimedia companies is not unheard of, the situation becomes more alarming when one considers Cambridge Analytica’s status as a political consulting firm (Facebook value drops by $37bn amid privacy backlash 2018). As stated by concerned agencies, the organization has been suspected to support the elections of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Before the controversy, Facebook users were poorly informed about where their data was used, and how it was collected. The inability of the Facebook company to properly engage its userbase has led to a major issue. This event in addition to prior history of data collection from the organization has led to Facebook stock plummeting in 2018. As a response the company issued an apology, recognizing its lack of appropriate measures in informing their customers (Facebook value drops by $37bn amid privacy backlash 2018)
As stated previously, the existing response plan issued by Facebook included an apology by the CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as this suspension of Cambridge Analytica as its partner. This set of actions was likely seen as key to solving the problem. However, despite being able to address the immediate effects of their actions, Facebook has not managed to rebuild the trusting relationship between themselves and their customers. in addition, as seen by the future data breaches occurring within the company, security and privacy concerns were not sufficiently taken to account. in order to make the response strategy better, it is necessary both to resolve the immediate problems caused by controversy and the underlying issues that caused it. for this purpose, a communication strategy on social media along with a systematic overhaul of privacy within Facebook must be performed.
Company Message and What Must be Communicated
In communicating with Facebook users and the media, the company must be able to communicate its key values and concerns regarding the event. In the case of privacy concerns, the organization should focus on reassuring its user base, admitting fault, and making its future course of action publicly known. By honestly talking about the problem, Facebook can establish trust and transparency. For a company primarily being accused of not informing their users, showing a commitment to open communication becomes a necessity. Additionally, it may be useful to remind the public of the values and beliefs held by the Facebook company. Emphasizing trust communication convenience and a user-centered approach is a key to creating a more positive brand image. In order to share these messages, Facebook can use a variety of channels to its advantage.
Social media and news media play a central role in addressing the controversy and introducing change. Facebook, as a company primarily based online, has the ability to take full advantage of the digital space. Most users know the Facebook Company through its web services messengers and social media applications. Therefore, the organization has full rights to use the aforementioned platforms as their main base of communications. Admitting fault and committing to change on the Facebook website will make the information readily available to those who are directly impacted by this change. In addition, mass media outlets and TV news can be used for improved coverage. an official statement informing the users about the event must be made, along with the appropriate apology and recognition from the organization. Afterward, Facebook must show its commitment to change, actively adjusting its methods of operation in order to prevent similar events from occurring. Regarding the types of documents and data the users might need to see, there are a number of possible strategies. Most importantly, documents regarding Facebook’s data collection policies should be made accessible along with the response. While social media terms and conditions presently contain such data, its inclusion in the more obvious location displays a user-centric approach and commitment to change. In addition, changes to website data collection practices will be a necessary step towards building back trust. Facebook can include drafts for immediate changes of user data handling, inviting public feedback and criticism. This step can allow the organization to see their change strategy in action, while also getting valuable insights about the overlooked details.
Benefits of the Plan
The proposed plan has a number of benefits compared to a simple apology. Firstly, by actively changing its data collection practices, Facebook would be able to prevent future issues regarding privacy. As seen throughout the social media site’s existence, Facebook staff are unable to securely contain user data and use it without endangering public security. The existence of multiple similar controversies throughout the organization’s life shows a need for change and the possible direction towards achieving it. Adjusting data collection to be less severe, enhancing data security measures, and promoting user awareness are three key components in this process. All of these notions should be openly stated to the public.
Secondly, an elaborate and multi-faceted social media response is able to create a pathway of communication between the community and the company. Through providing their clients with the necessary context to participate in an active discussion. Facebook gains an ability to understand users, their desires, and concerns. As a social media platform, promoting the well-being and the satisfaction of customers is the primary goal of Facebook, one that must be facilitated through well-intentioned practices and solid policy.
Thirdly, the proposed response strategy creates an emotional connection between the clients and the company. Trust, convenience, and understanding can often make users overlook the minor inconveniences or problems of service. A public strategy that can reflect all of these notions in addition to the personal values of the organization serves as a solid foundation upon which prolonged cooperation is built (Communicating Company core values: Definition, examples, and why it matters 2021). In order to maintain a fruitful, positive, financially beneficial, and long-standing relationship, Facebook must solidify its user-centered image in the eyes of an average user. By focusing on all of the aforementioned practices, the Facebook Company can properly address controversy.
BBC. (2018). Facebook value drops by $37bn amid privacy backlash. BBC News. Web.
Communicating Company core values: Definition, examples, and why it matters. Firstup. (2021). Web.