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  • Kenneth Walker

The Fear of Facebook

Updated: Jul 14, 2019

The Problem


We always tell everyone be the best they can at what they do. We love to see dynasties like the Warriors created, but once it's built people quickly go from fans to detractors wanting to see the dynasty weakened or fall all together. Facebook in many ways is just like The Golden State Warriors, they were a powerful tech company when they were just purely Facebook, but add in Instagram and Youtube then they seem unstoppable. What was once a loved social media site has become a feared tech giant which power it wields has so much influence that American Government Officials are calling for it to be broken into smaller companies.


Facebook is facing what every tech giant over the past 20 years has face. Scared aristocrats who don't understand technology and are fearful of the power it wields. Company's such as Uber, Microsoft, Tesla and Apple have all faced legislation or lawsuits by the government that threaten their business model or ability to operate all together.

In the cases of Apple and most famously Microsoft the government doesn't want to get rid of the company they just don't want to see them become too powerful. First lets define a monopoly. The exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service. While Facebook is a powerful company that holds an unprecedented amount of information on just about everyone in the world. Can you say Facebook discourages competition and hurts their consumer by price gauging? The simple answer is NO. Facebook as well as most of the products they offer are free like most social media platforms. While Facebook certainly controls a large market share they by no means can be looked at as a monopoly, especially when there are other free social media sites Twitter, Snapchat, Tinder (you're forgetting while Tinder is a dating site it's just another form of social media) so when you take a look at it they neither price gauge or dominate their market and discourage competition.


The true problem is Mark Zukerburgh. The government fears a uber intelligent CEO who holds so much information and has so much political influence. Facebook and Twitter were the talking grounds for all political activity during the Trump election. We are seeing more and more politicians winning using social media as their main platform to get the word out. This is disrupting the status quo in Washington so naturally they are going to do what they can to take control over the inevitable.


The Answer


So if you're Facebook and Mark Zukerburgh what do you do? Bill Gates stepped down as CEO into a different position within the company. This still didn't stop the judge from ordering them to split the company, although it was later overturned. What if Mark doesn't want to step down from his company? Which is natural reaction. Facebook has to pick the best way to go after this. They could simply mobilize Facebook against these politicians, but while this might work temporarily this will just prove in politicians minds the danger of Facebook and give them cause to find another way. Facebook has to be delicate they have to appear strong yet must make government officials comfortable with Facebook's power.


Self regulation is key to Facebook being able to stay in the game the way we know them know. There needs to be a complete separation of powers in Facebook and all the companies they own. Each platform needs to have a CEO named with its on Executives that operate independent and Facebook hold just one seat on their Board of Directors.


After a complete separation of powers has been done to ensure no one person in the Facebook world holds too much power safe guards must be put in place. On top of creating teams dedicated to information and there being clear separation of powers among them. Facebook Algorithm needs safeguards; there needs to be information certain people can't access and old account that are not in use deleted to ensure information is protected. Facebook has to do everything possible to make users and government feel comfortable. Now everything said so far any Facebook executive would say sure easy done, now here comes the hard part. To make user more comfortable Facebook must make their user agreement and privacy policy more transparent. While they do a great job at telling you there are changes they don't do a good job of telling whats actually happening to your information. Users should be able to access what Facebook has shared with third parties and have say so over their photos and what can be used by Facebook for marketing purposes. This is tough for Facebook because this is where they really make their money through the information they collect while user are on their site.


Lets continue with somethings that will hurt , more transparency to ensure user information is safe Facebook needs to start reporting on all incidents, so when someone's account is hacked it needs to be reported to everyone there needs to be a page that keeps people aware. If it turns out a predator found a child through Facebook then they should alert everyone in a certain radius to make people aware. While things like this don't seem sexy for business they allow Facebook to stay one company and earn its users trust.


Next comes the sexy part. Facebook needs to hire a communicator to push their narrative of the story. There narrative can simply be if Facebook is too powerful what about other companies that act as a monopoly and actually discourage competition? There are companies that force suppliers to have to use their warehouses and then make knock offs of their product and sell it for cheaper on their site. That example is exactly what a monopoly is a company that price gauges, discourages and tries to eliminate all competition. One can't help to think that isn't what Facebook is. By changing the narrative from if Facebook is a monopoly to is the government treating all companies fairly or do they pick and choose when they want to enforce rules? The only thing that American citizens hate more than a powerful company is government corruption and bullying. Doing this is easy because Facebook can mobilize its users. By advertising on their site and making it easy for users to get important information to their State Representative's, Facebook can create a lot of noise for their side. Politicians hate when they are flooded with tweets, calls and emails from their constituents and usually do anything to make them happy when its causing continued bad press. By using whats right in front of them Facebook has the power to fight. While this will upset politicians and slightly prove their quarrel with Facebook, they will be upset regardless better to have "Upset Politicians" and a running business than "Happy Politicians" and be out of business.


These are just a few of many key things the Facebook can and should do. As always having a crisis communication professional on staff will typically yield to more favorable results.











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