Operating a client’s social media accounts is an immensely important role for public relations professionals. Whether it’s communicating to followers during a crisis, promoting an upcoming campaign or gaining brand loyalty, each social media platform is unique in the way it reaches audiences. All serve as efficient PR tools, however, how efficient are the PR teams behind these social media companies?
It’s extremely unlikely that you didn’t hear about the Facebook privacy scandal that broke in March 2018. The world bursting in uproar as it was learned that an estimated 87 million people had personal information from Facebook compromised due to unauthorized data-mining from a third-party app. The social media giant didn’t respond in a timely manner as head executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg fell silent for five days following the initial report.
This public became enraged even further after Zuckerberg didn’t apologize for the privacy breech once he broke his silence. The company is still trying to regain the public’s trust. It also started running the “Here Together” ad campaign in April that promises to keep people safe and protect their privacy.
YouTube is another company that has received a great deal of criticism from its users due to its lack of communication. In April 2017, major marketers for the site discovered that some advertisements were running videos that promoted hate speech and terrorism, causing them to pull their ads. Not wanting to lose business, YouTube began withdrawing creators’ ad revenue on videos that were deemed not advertiser friendly. What people took issue with is that YouTube did not clearly state what type of content is and isn’t advertiser friendly. Left confused, creators’ earnings began to drop, some even claiming to have lost 99% of their previous revenue. The company eventually created an advertiser-friendly content guideline but many creators still are struggling to create videos that fit these rules.
The best part is that @TeamYouTube doesn't explain this roll out or how to protect yourself, they just silently screw everyone as usual
— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) April 25, 2017
These two situations are examples of how social media companies can fail to respond to key stakeholders in the midst of a crisis. In hindsight, we learn that timeliness and openness are two factors where the companies fell short.
Do you think Facebook and YoTube will make repeat the mistakes in the future or will the platforms improve and rebound?