Following weeks of scandals, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues to remain relatively quiet while the company’s VP of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, continues to downplay the social media giant’s issues as the focus of a media onslaught.
Facebook has dealt with a number of scandals in recent weeks based on the “Facebook Files” series from the Wall Street Journal which made a number of damning claims about the tech giant based on a series of internal company documents. Shortly afterward, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen came forward as the source of these documents and testified about the company before Congress. Amidst all of this, Facebook then suffered its longest outage in years with all services going offline for over six hours.
Most would think that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg would be quick to reach out to the media in an attempt to project strength and unity as the company comes under fire — yet that has not been the case. Zuckerberg has published a single Facebook post in which he stated that the idea “that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being” is “just not true,” but aside from this has been relatively silent.
Instead, Facebook VP of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg has been publishing blog posts and making statements to the media in an attempt to provide reassurance about the companies standing. Clegg served five years as the UK’s deputy prime minister where he learned how to handle media and PR issues with relative ease, but without the public faces of Zuckerberg and Sandberg, few appear to be comforted by Clegg’s comments.
Speaking to MSNBC’s Meet the Press, Clegg stated: “With a third of the world’s population on our platforms, of course you’re going to see the good, the bad and the ugly of human nature. Our job is to mitigate and reduce the bad and amplify the good.”
Steven Levy, the author of the book Facebook: The Inside Story recently spoke to the Guardian about the current situation and the lack of public appearances from Zuckerberg and Sandberg, stating: “When he [Clegg] appears on these Sunday shows, the question is: ‘Who is he trying to convince?’ Clearly, the people who are critics of Facebook aren’t going to be turned around by him saying: ‘Most of what we do is good.’ That argument doesn’t get traction. But people who work at Facebook need somebody going in to defend the company, because Mark and Sheryl have indicated, at least at this moment, that they do not have a taste for publicly defending the company they built.”
Levy went on to discuss how the latest scandal differs from the usual weekly Facebook-related outrage, stating: “Someone is now presenting a case backed up with a lot of documents. Facebook can quite accurately say: ‘That’s just a selection of documents – they’re being cherrypicked.’ But the larger question is: ‘Is Facebook going to shift the core of its attitude?’ It probably could stem the bleeding if the right words came out of Mark or Sheryl’s mouth. But what I’m hearing from inside the company is they’ve had it with that. When Mark apologizes, people just list all the other times he’s apologized. So, at least for now, he’s brazening it out.”
Read more at the Guardian here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com