Over the past several months Facebook has been dealing with a bit of a situation. Following the 2016 US Presidential Election stories began to surface that drew lines between Russian influence on the election and Facebook. In light of this scrutiny, Facebook, led by founder Mark Zuckerberg, has been making some serious moves to dust the dirt off its shoulders. Below are a few examples of the many ways Facebook is working towards righting the ship.
Mr. Zuckerberg goes to Washington, then Europe. We watched, with some disdain for the overall lack of digital advertising understanding Congress has, as Mr. Zuckerberg poignantly affirmed changes coming to Facebook and the mission to “do more”. In short, he nailed it. He was direct, calmly responded to inquiries, including the most humorous “how do you make money?”, hint – the purpose of the hearing was to discuss Facebook data and ads, and provided answers to all questions he was in a good position to answer. There are several highlight videos out there that are worth the watch.
The “Here Together” video campaign takes a very personal approach to alleviate concerns.
Facebook’s internal “Facing Facts” video shines a very bright light on how difficult it is to develop machine learning that can strike a perfect balance between positive user experience and getting ahead of false information.
Facebook’s effects are not limited to digital mediums. This photo was taken from a train outside of Philadelphia, PA earlier today.
The man himself publicly posted Facebook’s commitment to change on his own timeline which is a solid move.
Other companies that have been spending heavily recently to change the perception of their brands include Wells Fargo with, in my opinion, one of the strongest ads of the decade that openly addresses the problem it faced and announces a significant change in its business practices, and Uber which has been facing a number of negative accusations not easily addressed even after the replacement of Travis Kalanic at the helm. I can’t wait to read the updated forward of “Wild Ride”. Rebeca Stewart did a nice job of explaining these efforts, and estimated costs, in an article for The Drum (http://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/05/30/uber-and-facebook-are-learning-the-hard-way-saying-sorry-costly-business).
Will it work? It should. Pure effect models suggest that such a heavy push for changing the attitude towards the Facebook brand will certainly help to restore its credibility. More importantly, Facebook has billions (billions as in “3 commas club”) of users and many will continue to thumb through their feeds weekly, daily, hourly with or without direct exposure to this “we’re all better now” blitz. At the end of the day, if some are still concerned that possible data collection and/or misinformation will have truly detrimental effects on their lives, they can simply log out. Facebook is a business and it is in its best interest to create a safe and comfortable environment for all users. But again, there is always the option to log out.
Michael Venezia, Digital Marketing Director