Facebook Still Struggling to Understand Importance of Business Character Expectations
(Image by raphaelsilva from Pixabay)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has yet to realize that his titan business should show and needs to show a greater exhibition of character, ethics and governance and by continually not doing showing the world and critics this, the distrust, scrutiny, negativity and consequences will continue.
The company continues to carry on in ways that create doubt, inspire anger and reveal commitment to flaws in decision analysis (asking itself the wrong questions), decision making and business practices.
In doing this, Facebook appears quite comfortable with who it is and the negative feedback it receives from media, analysts and government.
Some recent headlines that might — or might not get Zuckerberg’s attention:
Mark Zuckerberg Loses Over $7 Billion Due to Advertising Boycott
Starbucks, Coca-Cola latest to join Facebook ad boycott
Levi Strauss & Co., Ben and Jerry’s, The North Face, Patagonia, REI, Mozilla, Upwork, Eddie Bauer, Unilever, Verizon Communications, Inc., Hershey Co. and Honda Motors are well-known companies that have halted spending money on Facebook.
Coca-Cola, Inc. has now decided it would suspend buying ads for at least 30 days. Starbucks too has since joined the defectors, at least temporarily.
This caliber of companies will influence many smaller brands to do the same.
Whether this is the cold shower for Zuckerberg and Facebook it should be remains in question yet it should and could possibly send a message and be seen as a crisis of distrust that evidence suggests.
This was no small dent in Facebook’s market value either as it’s reported that the boycott siphoned $56 billion from its position while also lessening “Zuckerberg’s net worth to $82.3 billion — which is about $7.2 billion less than his net worth before the boycott began. Now, Zuckerberg is no longer the third richest person in the world.”
“Facebook’s inadequate policing of hateful and misleading content,” reports say.
You think that doesn’t matter to Facebook or its leader? It does.
Could the company afford the hit? Certainly. Does it hurt at least a little? Of course. While Facebook seems to annoyingly or mockingly wave off allegations, criticism and contempt, competitors like Zuckerberg have egos as large as their accomplishments and with him falling below chairman and chief executive of Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault among the world’s richest people, that very likely gnaws at Zuckerberg.
Forget for a moment what Facebook’s face and voice of the company has said or otherwise done in response to the recent reputation crisis. With Facebook’s robotic corporate messaging says really matters little, as its character and ethics have not proven credible or trustworthy.
This is yet one example:
“Unfortunately, the sum total of these exercises reveal that Facebook has been spending more time on their messaging rather than addressing the underlying problems on the platform,” the Stop Hate for Profit Coalition said, reported Catherine Thorbecke on ABCNews.com.
What does matter is hearing from Zuckerberg himself that he and his lovechild truly, deeply care about and are committed to improving character, ethics and standards that will directly improve decision making and business conduct.
It has to be done with quality of transparency and self awareness and highly admirable sincerity and sustained humility.
He has to explain precisely why this is important to him and Facebook, detail his plan and then align company practices with its words, developing into a reputation and brand that is worthy of its world famous name and profits.
Michael Toebe writes the Red Diamonds Newsletter, Red Diamonds Features and Red Diamonds Essays (all on Medium) and is also the host of the short-segment Red Diamonds Podcast. He is a specialist for reputation, professional relationships communication and wiser crisis management, for individuals and organizations.
This article first appeared in Red Diamonds Essays (on the Medium platform) on 06/29/20.