If it takes Twitter hashtags (#WheresZuck, #DeleteFacebook) to finally go in front of a camera and make a statement defending your brand in the midst of a growing crisis – you’re doing it wrong.

There’s no argument Facebook is going through the biggest crisis it has ever faced. The allegation that data on 50 million users of the social media network had been taken from the company and used by Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis firm used by the Trump presidential campaign will no doubt lead to massive change in the companies privacy policies (again!) and could also lead to federal regulation. Three states and the FTC have launched investigations in the past few days.

All of this comes on the heels of the “Fake News” revelations late last year and the admission by the internet giant that Russian trolls’ weaponized the platform to cause divisiveness among users and interfere in the 2016 election.

Yet CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, the two very public “faces” of Facebook have remained silent. Only today has word come out that Zuckerberg will make a statement “.. sometime Wednesday”. Axios is reporting that Zuckerberg’s remarks “will aim to rebuild trust.”

Well, guess what Zuck? Too late for that. The prolonged silence exacerbated that damage and made the company look unorganized at best and guilty of hiding something at worst.

This didn’t help either – prompted by numerous media inquiries a Facebook spokesperson released this written statement late Tuesday:

“Mark, Sheryl and their teams are working around the clock to get all the facts and take the appropriate action moving forward, because they understand the seriousness of this issue. The entire company is outraged we were deceived. We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information and will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens”  

Already playing the Blame Game?

According to a CNN report even some top-level executives are frustrated by the lack of transparency and accountability from Zuckerberg and Sandberg.

“These things have so much nuance in them,” a top-level executive said. “Every answer has tradeoffs.” The public rarely gets insight into the behind-the-scenes conversations at Facebook, even when the decisions made during them could impact a significant portion of the population. “We want to tell the public more…tell the hard story more. If we don’t tell it, people write it for us,” he added.

THAT IS EXACTLY what we tell our clients here at FRMediaTrain. “If you’re not telling your story, you can bet someone else is!”

Axios, which first reported Zuckerberg’s “plan”, said the CEO wanted to say something meaningful rather than pushing out a comment quickly. At first glance and thought understandable, but definitely the WRONG strategy. What is prevening you from doing both (meaningful and quick) ?? According to the report Zuckerberg has been speaking to engineers about how to make its website more secure, and make people feel their data is safe. Sorry Mark, that horse has left the barn.

It will be interesting to hear his comments later today – especially considering Facebook has been under   pressure to explain why they didn’t notify users that its data been used in a way that violated its terms of service — since it learned of the violation in 2015!

 

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