Just About Everything That Could Have Gone Wrong For Facebook’s PR Did; But Will It Affect Their User Base?

Lets review. In response to the endless drumbeat about privacy concerns, The New York Times posted a Q&A with Facebook PR Chief Elliot Schrage [pictured], where he came off as condescending and arrogant — PC World called it, “the most egregious display of corporate doublespeak this side of Microsoft” — but also admitted to communications mistakes:

“It’s clear that despite our efforts, we are not doing a good enough job communicating the changes that we’re making. Even worse, our extensive efforts to provide users greater control over what and how they share appear to be too confusing for some of our more than 400 million users.”

The Times also posted a large info-graphic outlining the social network’s massively confusing privacy settings and noting that their privacy policy document is longer than the U.S. Constitution.

One blog posted a college era IM exchange from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in which he called Facebook users “dumb f*cks” for uploading their info to the site. Regardless of the context of the exchange, it forced the company to publicly respond.

Three New York University students created their own “private Facebook,” raised $100,000 so far to support it, and received a ton of press.

Also, a security hole with partner site Yelp, “would allow a malicious site to immediately harvest a Facebook user’s name, email, and data shared with ‘everyone’ on Facebook, with no action required on the user’s part…”

Their have also been new privacy complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which Facebook addressed by hiring former FTC Chairman Tim Muris.

Oh, and the government is still looking into the social network.

Meanwhile, some bloggers, PRNewser included, are offering up free PR advice to the company.

We can only imagine things are more than busy at Outcast Communications, Facebook’s PR agency of record, and that Facebook director of communications Brandee Barker is still glad she picked the perfect time to go on maternity leave.

However, our guess is that this won’t have a drastic affect on Facebook’s user base. Our latest PRNewser poll, albeit with a small sample size, shows that zero percent of PRNewser readers have deleted their Facebook account so far, although 58 percent of respondents said the social network’s privacy changes, “have definitely made me consider deleting my account.”

What’s your take? Take the poll, or leave your thoughts in the comments.

Publish date: May 13, 2010 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/just-about-everything-that-could-have-gone-wrong-for-facebooks-pr-did-but-will-it-affect-their-user-base/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT