Third-year justice studies student, Alyssa Gibney says “it’s a complete invasion of privacy. I used to have faith in the fact that the information I put out about myself was only going to be seen by other people under my discretion, and now that trust is gone.”
On Mar. 17, 2018, news broke that data of 50 million Facebook users was hijacked in an attempt to boost a Trump campaign for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on CNN to make an apology four days after the news broke taking full responsibility for what happened and reassuring everyone that he and his company are taking the steps necessary to prevent this from happening again.
The University of Guelph-Humber’s assistant business head, Justin Medak says he thinks Zuckerberg’s apology was “saving face with Facebook as an organization because his is the face of Facebook.”
Medak saw the delay in the apology as a way of Zuckerberg taking time to “process the total extent and get a full sense of the situation and how to address certain stakeholders with his apology,” he says.
While some may see the late apology as a smart move on Zuckerberg’s behalf, others see it as questionable. James MacDonald, a public relations professor at Guelph-Humber says “speed is what counts, you have to deal with something very quickly in a situation like this and people are questioning why it took so long.”
He added, “ultimately an apology can be helpful, but it has to be fairly swift.”
Medak says organizations like this are “filled with second chances” but “this is not a short-term situation and in order for Facebook to remedy the situation they need to play the long game.”
Zuckerberg has been asked to testify on a hearing before U.S. Congress.
MacDonald says that aside from the apology, Facebook has dealt with the situation well so far but there are more challenges to come.
“Going before Congress is going to propel this back into the spotlight very quickly and in a way that could possibly be more damaging than anything we’ve seen so far.”
MacDonald mentioned the fictional movie, The Social Network, as depicting Zuckerberg as “somewhat of a cold and calculated character and is now going to be testifying before a hostile audience in a room with millions of hostile people watching this room around the world.”
MacDonald thinks that in order for Facebook to slowly begin to bounce back from this situation Zuckerberg needs to “promise action, promise concrete steps they’re going to take, and manage to come across as credible rather than condescending in front of Congress.”
Zuckerberg is scheduled to take the stand before the Senate Judiciary Committee around April 10, 2018.“In the long-term, the next steps that they take really are going to dictate where this goes and if he can demonstrate to the public that they take this seriously then they have a pretty good chance of emerging from this as a stronger company and stronger brand,” says MacDonald.