Facebook Apologises with National Press Adverts
In light of its recent data privacy scandal, Facebook have apologised to users for failing to adequately protect their information.
To do so, Mark Zuckerberg took out full page print ads in several Sunday papers across the UK and US. This included taking out a back page ad in The Observer – the paper which originally broke the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica story.
Unlike the press ads, Zuckerberg’s initial Facebook post addressing the issue did not utter the word ‘sorry’. Could it be that national newspapers are seen as the right kind of quality, trustworthy environment for a serious message addressing a global scandal?
The annual Edelman Trust Barometer found that only one in four Brits trusts social media and 64% believed that social platforms were not sufficiently regulated. Traditional media was trusted by 61% in the same survey – a sharp 13 point rise on last year. Regarding press specifically, Newsworks found that 69% of Brits trusted their chosen newspapers, rising to 76% among ‘quality’ titles.
It’s perhaps no surprise then that many brands have taken to newspapers to pen apologies. In the US, Samsung took out full page press ads to address the recall of the Galaxy Note 7, while Volkswagen did the same during the 2015 emissions scandal. In the UK’s national newspapers, Tesco apologised for the horsemeat scandal, while Rupert Murdoch apologised for the phone hacking crisis.
Facebook aren’t the first, and won’t be the last, to use press ads to apologise. And so they shouldn’t be. Newspapers are a strong channel to (re)build trust amongst consumers – as Tesco proved in 2013 with a recovery in footfall after apologising for the horsemeat scandal. They also help to generate positive PR opportunities across multiple on and offline channels.
It’s particular newsworthy (and ironic) that Facebook, of all brands, decided to return to traditional media. With the rise of ‘fake news’ (and its particular relevance to Facebook), it makes total sense that Mark Zuckerberg took to the press to reassure users that Facebook are sorry and keen to put things right.