As part of an investigation into misinformation on the internet, a British parliamentary committee has just released internal Facebook emails and other company documents from 2012 through 2015. Released on Dec. 5, the documents were “originally sealed as evidence in a lawsuit brought against Facebook by Six4Three, an app developer,” according to the New York Times, and primarily focus on the company’s use of user data in conjunction with other partners.
Ada Hegerberg, a 23-year-old Norwegian striker who plays for France’s Lyon side, had just received the annual award for best player in the world. She made sure to thank her teammates, coach, team president and France Football. But the historic evening became awkward when the man who presented the award, theFrench DJ and producer Martin Solveig, asked Hegerberg, in French, if she could twerk to celebrate.
Famed astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women, ranging in time from 1984 to the present day. Tyson has drafted a response he entilted, “On Being Accused,” and posted to Facebook on Saturday, defending his behavior after his most recent accuser, a production assistant on his show Cosmos, gave an interview to Patheos about her claims.
On the morning of Nov. 30, Marriott announced that the data of approximately 500 million customers had been compromised by a breach of the Starwood Hotels database. Starwood became a subsidiary of Marriott when it was acquired by the hotel chain in 2016, and according to the statement on Marriott’s news site the breach has been an ongoing occurrence since 2014 but wasn’t detected until Sept. 8, 2018. The breach impacts guests who booked stays at Starwood properties on or before Sept. 10., and could be the second largest in history.
After a massive cybersecurity incident, Equifax realized that many people didn’t actually understand how a consumer credit reporting agency works, or why they matter in the first place. The brand then realized that the best thing it could do was educate people about personal finance, cybersecurity, and Equifax’s role in our economy. This was not just an effort to repair trust, but to make sure that its brand values were understood.
Some communicators believe that a brand should always keep its head down during a crisis, focusing on containing any issues internally and speaking to as few members of the media as possible. This is not always the best course of action, though. A sound media relations strategy can not only mitigate your crisis once it becomes external, but also help educate your audience and retain brand trust.
It’s unclear how accurate the NY Times’ account of how Facebook responded to two PR crises is; Facebook says it contains many inaccuracies. The Times says it stands behind its 5,600-word story that took more than one month to craft. As a case study for students and practitioners of PR, however, it’s loaded with important lessons.
Vaporizer manufacturer JUUL Labs has gotten out in front of looming regulations on the e-cigarette industry by transforming its brand into stewards of legitimate and responsible vape use. Yesterday, the brand announced it would cease sales of its four flavored vape pods in all of the 90,000+ retail stores that currently carry its products, and delete all social media accounts but Twitter.
A sigh of relief emanated from College Park, Maryland, early on Halloween, when University of Maryland president Wallace Loh announced his firing of head football coach DJ Durkin. It was one of the few correct notes sounded during a crisis that centered on the death of a student and athlete Jordan McNair.
Google and NBC are both under fire this week for employees’ inappropriate behavior and subsequent backlash in the news cycle and on social media. Here’s a contrasting look at each company’s response, with commentary from PR professionals on how well each brand tackled its crisis communications.