The last few weeks have been a real nightmare for Facebook, which is still trying to reorder itself after the most recent shocks. Monday’s global drop has been just a downside when compared to the negative press it has received consistently since The Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files series began. And to that we must add the recent hearing of Frances Haugen, the former employee turned whistleblower, in the United States Senate.
And it is clear that the criticism is taking its toll. A new report from the aforementioned medium now indicates that Facebook would slow down the development of new products. The intention of Mark Zuckerberg and company would be to focus on facing “reputation reviews.” According to WSJ, the purpose of these analyzes would be examine what future criticism the social network may receive, and at the same time check that their platforms do not negatively affect children.
But the company’s decision would not only affect new products, but also to changes that are made on other existing ones. The most notorious case has been that of the “pause” to Instagram for children, but clearly there are less publicized plans that have also been altered.
Criticism forces Facebook to rethink its reputational approach
Another interesting fact, and also peculiar, is that some Facebook executives have analyzed suing Frances Haugen. They accuse her of having stolen the documents that she leaked to The Wall Street Journal, and which are also in the possession of US legislators. However, some have already argued that such an attitude could further damage the company’s already poor public reputation.
If Facebook proceeds legally, it could be considered a contradiction to the position it took during the hearing with its former employee. Let us remember that yesterday the company issued a statement where minimized Haugen’s knowledge and interference within the social network.
For now, the company seems to be adjusting certain details to prevent more internal information from reaching outsiders. The WSJ report also indicates that a Facebook team has been assigned to study all the research the company conducts; especially those that could damage your image if they are exposed.
It is clear that what Facebook proposes inside doors is damage control. This time the pressure from the media and the public seems even greater than that of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And they know that there is no escape from constant scrutiny, no matter how much they set out to improve.
In addition, the recent hearing in the United States Senate has been the ideal setting for legislators to whip Mark Zuckerberg out of the “den”. To the point that the CEO and founder of Facebook himself published the message he sent to all the company’s employees. Here’s a snippet from the end:
I know it is frustrating to see the good work we do misrepresented, especially for those of you who are making significant contributions to safety, integrity, research, and products. But I believe that in the long run, if we keep trying to do the right thing and provide experiences that improve people’s lives, it will be better for our community and our business. I have asked the leaders of the company over the next few days to delve into the work that we do in many areas so that they can see how much we are doing to get there.
As this story runs its course, it becomes clear that the last word has not yet been said.