Facebook’s Really Bad Behaviour

Sometimes, the stars just align perfectly. When we recorded this episode of Inside PR, we did not know that, within hours, the New York Times would publish a bombshell story delving into Facebook’s tactics to avoid full transparency and accountability for the existence and persistence of Russian troll activity and other bad acts on Facebook. In this episode, you’ll hear us discuss that the only truly satisfactory response on the part of Facebook must go beyond simple PR bromides to real actions that align with its promises. Something which the NY Times story suggests Facebook fell far short of.

Ironically, it was the NYTimes Tech Reporter, Kevin Roose, who provided the most succinct definition of what’s really going on in a Tweet following the picture that emerged of a group of boys allegedly giving the Nazi salute prior to their prom. Roose tweeted, “has anyone answered “a generation raised on platforms that reward provocation in a culture with a shrinking list of taboos” yet[?]”

And it’s not just outside observers who are rethinking the approach the social media platforms took to driving growth and user engagement. Recode reported that Twitter co-founder Ev Williams told a tech conference in Portugal, “I think showing follower counts was probably ultimately detrimental. …. It really put in your face that the game was popularity.” Williams went on to discuss the “suggested user” list that helped new Twitter users start to follow people on Twitter by suggesting well-known are widely followed people for them to follow. Reflecting on this, Williams suggested, “Those weren’t really interest-based follows, and then someone who had grown their following organically compares themselves to them. It’s inauthentic.”

And that brings us back full circle to Facebook. Even before the NY Times story dropped, legislators outside of the US were demanding that Zuckerberg provide some accountability to them for Facebook’s operations in their countries. A few weeks back, we discussed the fact that Canadian legislators were prepared to travel across the Atlantic to attend a joint session with their counterparts in the UK Parliament – if Mark Zuckerberg would agree to appear before them. Last week, legislators from Australia, Ireland and Argentina joined their counterparts from the UK and Canada to provide Zuckerberg with a five for one offer. One appearance for five countries. Yet, at the time of recording Zuckerberg and Facebook still had not agreed to appear.

And then the NY Times story dropped – and we saw in vivid detail the machinations and manipulation Facebook was taking to duck calls for full transparency everywhere. 

Delay. Deny. Deflect. Now that we understand this, could this be only the first of many bad weeks for Facebook?

Faster, Safer Internet Access from Your Phone

Do you ever connect to the Internet via a public WiFi network (think airports, hotels and Starbucks?) Have you read the terms of use you have with your Internet Service Provider (ISP)? If so, you may discover that they can share with “partners” data about your Web surfing and Internet activity from inside your home! Yes, it’s a scary world.

Cloudflare, the company that many developers rely on for Domain Name Server (DNS) and Content Delivery Network (CDN) services, is making it easier for all of us to increase the security and privacy of our connections to the Internet – whether at home or in public places. Last April, the company launched its DNS resolver service that enables you to keep your Web activity private – even from your ISP. Now, they have introduced apps to bring the service to your mobile phone. I’ve installed the app on my iPhone. It took less than three minutes. You too can download the app from the iOS and Android stores. It’s an easy, simple step to protect yourself online.

It’s about the links

When you pitch an article to an online news outlet, do you expect them to include a link back to the source you provided to them? Do you see this as good SEO for the news outlet? As important to your client? A recent PR article on obtaining links in articles referencing clients got us thinking.

The challenge and rewards of Nanoinfluencers

Finally, we talk about  the emergence of Nanoinfluencers. From a thousand points of light may come great influence?


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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Creative Commons Licence
Delay, Deny, Deflect. Inside PR 527 by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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