Communication lessons from Facebook’s data crisis

When facing a loss of consumer trust, it’s imperative to respond quickly and efficiently—and to choose the right spokesperson for the job. How has the social media giant performed?

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Even huge organizations specializing in communication are vulnerable to making mistakes when faced with a crisis.

When it was revealed that Facebook was engaged in a situation of alleged data misuse by Cambridge Analytica, the world was shaken by the lack of transparency and eerie silence that followed the breaking news, capturing international headlines. The company turned what could have been a case of proactive issue management in 2015—when it learned of this data problem—into a full-blown, reactive crisis.

We live in an age of 24-hour digital connectivity with an expectation for immediate response time, especially when it comes to the tech giant that has defined the social realm. Facebook’s approach to the situation is a classic scenario of taking a back seat when a company could have—and should have—been the driver at the onset of an issue.

Here are four takeaways following the Facebook debacle that companies of all sizes can learn from:

1. Don’t gamble with a potential crisis.

When a company is faced with a controversial decision, though it isn’t currently a crisis, it could easily become one. Know that however the dice rolls can have ultimate future consequences.

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