Criticism of Facebook’s activities, policies and procedures continues on an almost daily basis. And things are not likely to get better for the social media giant anytime soon. On Monday, whistleblower Frances Haugen will be in London to answer questions from British lawmakers. Her testimony can be expected to generate a new round of bad publicity for Mark Zuckerberg and his company.
As the Washington Post reported today, “For all of Facebook’s troubles in North America, its problems with hate speech and disinformation are dramatically worse in the developing world. Internal company documents made public Saturday reveal that Facebook has meticulously studied its approach abroad — and was well aware that weaker moderation in non-English-speaking countries leaves the platform vulnerable to abuse by bad actors and authoritarian regimes.”
Employees Voiced Early Concerns
According to the New York Post yesterday, “Facebook knew that the spread of political misinformation was flourishing on its platform – but the company largely failed to address concerns from employees who raised alarms, a report found.
‘Workers flagged the rampant conspiracy theories and proliferation of QAnon-related content before the 2020 presidential election and Jan. 6 siege on the US Capitol, according to new internal documents obtained by the New York Times.
“But employees’ calls to action sparked by false claims about the election results were either ignored or mishandled, the Times said.”
Bad publicity and damage to a company’s image, reputation, credibility and brand can take a heavy toll on organizations. That could very well be the reason behind Facebook’s reported plans to restructure itself.
As Forbes reported earlier, “Citing an anonymous source, The Verge reported Facebook is planning to change its company name to facilitate a broader shift toward creating a “metaverse,” an idea for a world that blurs the lines between the digital and the physical.
Similar to Google’s relaunch as Alphabet in 2015, Facebook will reportedly create a new company which will encompass all its existing brands, including Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Oculus (Facebook told Forbes it will not comment on “rumor or speculation”).
Advice For Business Leaders
- Pay close attention to the concerns and criticisms of your employees. They can often serve as an early warning system about issues and problems that can turn into a full-blown crisis.
- Learn from your mistakes, and immediately apply those lessons to help mitigate or prevent future crisis situations.
- Identify all the resources you need to address a crisis, and do not hesitate to use them as soon as possible. The longer companies wait to tackle a crisis head-on, the worse it it is likely to get.