Facebook fails to take full responsibility in its Here Together Campaign

Facebook fails to take full responsibility in its Here Together Campaign

The Background

‘The Donald’ has made many waves across the world since assuming the American presidency, but those caused by harvesting Facebook profiles via Cambridge Analytica has at least been proven and the fall out is all too clear. 

The reality of online safety on social media has been laid bare. The influence it has on people’s lives and the perceived lack of control by Facebook of its own platform has become apparent. Silicon Valley companies seemingly control the world, but who is controlling them?

The Big Idea

Okay, sending Mark Zuckerberg on a world ‘apology tour’ was only going to do so much. When all’s said and done, did anyone really buy his ‘heartfelt apologies’ to the world? 

Yes Mark, we hear you saying you take your responsibilities seriously, so why was your security so crap that people’s private info was lifted? And while we’re at it, why is my feed always full of shit I don’t want, haven’t asked for and which is either trying to sell me something or getting me to enter a competition or quiz? People joined Facebook to keep in touch with friends both old and new, not all this old pony. So getting back to basics wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it?

And with the launch of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) across Europe, maybe now would be a good time to remind people (and itself) just why it exists and how it can allay people’s fears.

What They Did

Facebook created a mass-media blitz on TV, press, outdoor and online, getting back to basics and explaining why Facebook was created and what it’s good for. Bringing people together, keeping you informed and respecting all the laws already in-place for your online protection form key messaging planks of the campaign which was created in-house in America. 

The one-minute TV spots go into quite a lot of detail with typical Facebook content that gives a very friendly and positive message. Yes it’s a hearts-and-minds campaign worthy of any Hollywood romcom showing what nice people the people at Facebook are, and how much they respect us.

The Review

So how do I rate it? From a marketing point of view, it has addressed the brief of reminding people what it does and how great it can be so I guess that’s all well and good. There is a but coming. BUT none of the work shows it has taken responsibility for fake news on our feeds, for the endless clickbait it placed there enticing us to interact with various money-making sites or for the fake accounts it allowed to happen which were either done to influence or to frankly rip us off. 

It’s your site Facebook, so own the problem don't just say ‘ they happened’ which the TV spot does. For me it’s a classic ‘say what people want to hear’, but lacks real credibility. The TV spot does have a very Apple-esque feel, so it has the style and quality you expect from the American giant, but I just don’t buy it.

Executionally it’s clean, bright and breezy, but it’s style over substance for me as it just lacks any sense of true responsibility for all these things which happened on its site.

In Hindsight

I’m not really sure what I’d have done differently as Facebook has addressed clear issues but, for me, it's all in the messaging which falls to take responsibility. I’d respect it more if it had.

Not an especially credible piece of work for me. Not for the execution or content, I just hate the copy and lack of responsibility (have I mentioned that?!)

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