As one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management (CM), I can say unequivocally that one of the classic errors that organizations commit all too often is making crises worse by their misguided attempts to contain them. There is no more telling example than Facebook.
Recent articles in both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal paint a picture of an organization that is a menace in every which way.
Facebook knew that its policies were putting the lives of young girls directly at risk by how it portrayed their looks and bodies. It subjected them to endless episodes of shaming. It even led to reported attempts at suicide.
Even when the dire effects of its policies were brought repeatedly to the attention of senior management by subordinates, Facebook persisted in its irresponsible behavior. No matter how they were obtained, profits were all that mattered.
When Facebook deliberately tried to divert attention away from Mark Zuckerberg by planting “positive stories” on its own platform, it only made things worse when it got caught in its feeble attempts to protect him and the organization. In a word, its efforts at Damage Control only added to its string of crises. From being a prime distributor of Dis and Misinformation, allowing Conspiracy Theories to run unchecked, providing a vehicle for interference in our elections, Facebook is the epitome of a socially irresponsible organization. Its lacking in any sense of Ethical Responsibility.
The “bottom line” is that self-regulation is not only a “joke,” but a complete failure.
The senior management of Facebook has neither the ability nor the inclination to manage a major organization that has far too much influence on our lives. It’s a blot on the human condition.