Facebook: a crisis management that leaves much to be desired

News 30 March, 2018
  • Photo AFP
    Mark Zuckerberg


    Friday, 30 march 2018 10:04

    Friday, 30 march 2018 10:04

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    Paris | late responses, explanations unconvincing, and a boss hyper presentation: how Facebook and its creator Mark Zuckerberg manage the scandal of the data leaves much to be desired, according to specialists in crisis communications interviewed by the AFP.

    While the first revelations on the use for political purposes of the data of 50 million users of Facebook have erupted on 17 march, it will be necessary to wait until the 22nd for that Mark Zuckerberg is trying to extinguish the fire, with an apology, first on Facebook and then on CNN.

    An eternity in the digital era, in the eyes of several experts interviewed by AFP, who see it as a major fault.

    “This is the B-A BA in the event of a crisis: each hour that passes without a response, it is a little more noise and fury,” recalls Marie Muzard, specialist, crisis, digital, and founder of the consulting company MMC.

    “Because Facebook is a communication platform, this particular part of its responsibilities to react quickly and proactively. It is one of the brands most influential in the world, which makes the absence of a rapid response even more damaging “, abounds Seth Linden, president and partner of the firm, new york Dukas Linden Public Relations.

    On the merits, the explanations and the mea culpa of Mark Zuckerberg leave in addition to the specialists of crisis management on their hunger.

    “You see the desire for it has to +repair+ the confidence, but today this posture is really fragile, because in a quiet period, Facebook has not quite explained and given to see how it works, does not have enough rendering visible its teams and its commitments. The crisis highlights a kind of smoke screen, ” says Laure Boulay, founder of The Workshop of the opinion.

    “If it is shown to be skilled in pleading guilty, while pointing out the responsibility implicit in the researcher Kogan and Cambridge Analytica, the fact that he said not to have imagined that you could use the data for purposes of electoral manipulation, is a problem. This is not credible on the part of Facebook that focuses as much intelligence. This gives the impression that Zuckerberg has created a monster that it cannot control, like Frankenstein, ” says Marie Muzard.

    In addition, rest the word of the group almost exclusively on his boss iconic, the only known face in the social network, with its director general Sheryl Sandberg, absent until now in this scandal, the place on the harness.

    Hearing high-risk

    “The crux of the crisis lies in the status of a quasi-idol of Zuckerberg and Sandberg. They are weak and it is practically in the chronicle announced the fall of an idol. The total identification of the company to its founder and spokesperson, without valuing all those who do turn out, it is all the fragility of their posture, ” said Laure Boulay.

    “Mark Zuckerberg is vulnerable and if this crisis of confidence persists, it might be difficult to resist especially if the shareholders are fleeing. This can go very quickly. His counterpart at Uber (Travis Kalanick, ed) did not survive the repeated crises, and within Facebook, there is no “fuse”, adds the founder of MMC.

    In these conditions, Mark Zuckerberg plays very big with its next hearing before the u.s. Congress announced by the american media.

    “There is a pressure extraordinary about him,” says Seth Linden, who estimated that he would need ideally a month of preparation.

    “He will have to have the patience, the knowledge and the ability to express themselves, and understand the nuances of style and the specific needs to each of the main members of the parliamentary committees, and to provide information without giving the impression of being condescending, or show inaccurate. In addition to all this, you will adopt the proper posture and physical and a tone suitable. And even with the best preparation in the world, it will be an experience physically and psychologically exhausting “, he warns.