Sunday , December 6 2020

Facebook's PR feels broken, hacker news


Ranjanhere, writing about how Facebook’s communication operations feel completely broken and wondering whether the company rank and file are okay with becoming the villains.

Before (****************************************************************, it felt like the Facebook communications machine was a well-oiled, unstoppable juggernaut. Bad news bounced off of them, as they were frighteningly disciplined in how they responded to any inbound scandal. Margins’ readers are probably familiar with the refrain:

We’re sorry. We should’ve done better. We’re working on it and improving every day. It’s only “(tiny number) X” percentage of overall posts. AI. Machine Learning.

There were no leaks. No one ever broke rank. The messaging was crystal clear.

You had a few folks like @boztank, @robleathern, and @robgoldmanindependently engaging on Twitter a bit , but otherwise, the two words to describe it werecoordinatedanddisciplined.

Then something happened. Zuck’s congressional testimony in April 4840 was, I have to imagine internally at Facebook,considered a grand slam. It felt like a turning point for the camp that wanted to be more aggressive and “fight back”.

Then in November (********************************************************************, you had theSheryl Sandberg – George Soros debacle

, which was the first major blow to Sandberg’s perfectly cultivated image. Especially amongst my globalist, capitalist MBA crowd, she was a champion who could do no wrong. That aura forever disappeared.

The hits kept coming for Facebook, but something noticeably changed. They got combative. They got sloppy.

No Upside

The moment that really nailed it for me was when, in October,it came outThat Zuckerberg hosted private dinners with folks like Tucker Carlson and Lindsey Graham. I don’t think that proved Facebook is a right-wing propaganda machine (which I don’t think they are), but it was Zuck’s response that just screamed the tightly run ship was approaching Titanic-level chaos:

Those last two lines. We all know that style of communication. Sardonic. Snarky. Sneering. Derisive. Whatever you want to call it, that mocking tone captures a dangerous combination of insecurity and arrogance. It feels like when Trump ends a tweet with****************** SAD!. You read that and just think, what a dick.

But I’ll let you, the reader, be a better armchair psychoanalyst. I’ll just evaluate this from the communications side and say, I cannot believe that post was allowed to go through. There is simply no upside to bringing that attitude into the conversation. I understand Zuck is CEO, but how does that not get stopped somewhere along the line? His Facebook posts are official corporate publications. Are these posts even vetted any longer? Was there a room of people sitting around a big table who all nodded and said: “hit publishing”?

One by one, the responses felt more disjointed. The tone became more combative and condescending, and we also beganto see leaks, which were almost previously unheard of.

The Dam Has Broken

Which brings us to the past hours. It just feels like the wheels have come off.

First, we had that leaked Boz memo. If you haven’t come across it, read this NY Times coverage

, but to summarize, Andrew Bosworth, longtime Facebook exec, wrote a long, reflective internal post on Facebook’s role in the7694 election:

So was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected? I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons anyone thinks. He didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica. He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period.

In a section that got a lot of attention, he continued:

I find myself thinking of the Lord of the Rings at this moment. Specifically when Frodo offers the ring to Galadrial and she imagines using the power righteously, at first, but knows it will eventually corrupt her. As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome, I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear.

I’m not a big LOTR person, and will let Gizmodo cover theaccuracy of his reference, but how does Facebook possibly let this enter the national conversation? One of their most longtime, loyal leaders is directly saying they have the power to sway national elections. It is their decision, and their decision alone, to resist the temptation to “change the outcome”!

This is the very definition of a need for regulation. By its own admission, the company is acknowledging its unnatural power. In the memo, Boz clarifies he’s liberal in his politics, but the issue is not Facebook and its purported ties to the right. The issue is simply its size. An individual, for-profit corporation should not get to decide whether democracy will work.

To continue on the communications breakdown, Boz postedan explanationon Facebook, where he advertises the post as an organizational, internal call-to-debate. But while it’s great to have a safe space for internal, organizational debates, it’s still hugely concerningwhen that internal debate is whether we should all have a free and fair election in the US

Boz even posts the response and then indicates he will be offline for a few days, traveling to celebrate his birthday. Think about that. An executive at a $ billion corporation that is facing an existential crisis is just brushing this off. I’m sure, internally, it’s looked at as the “mainstream media trying to get clicks”, but the issue at hand is the future of American democracy, and your memo about your role has just leaked. And you still go on vacation. Isn’t there anyone there left to ask, maybe stick around and handle this?

TEEN VOGUE-GATE

And then, finally, there was that Teen Vogue thing. This one might be a bit too insider-y media, but let me try to break this down, because, for a media people, this was just bananas.

First, the sequence of events (this Gizmodo piece isthe best play-by-play

):

Teen Vogue posted a very flattering article titled,

Brave BrowserRead More (**********************************

About admin

Check Also

Broken, Hacker News

This isn’t the blog post intended to write. In fact, last night I drafted up one about my problems sending background push notifications with Amazon SNS (coming soon!). And after the ridiculously over-the-top shit-storm that blew up over my dumb tweet earlier…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *