Corporate Social Responsibility

Facebook: ‘Here Together’, But Is It Enough?

2 weeks ago

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Facebook: ‘Here Together’, But Is It Enough?

“I didn’t know Facebook did TV ads”.

If you’ve been anywhere near a TV over the past few months, this thought may have entered your mind.

At least that’s exactly what happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, as I sat there watching the sort of  heart string pulling video that Facebook usually force you into sharing, I found myself very much intrigued.

Yes, Facebook have been far from perfect recently. I even wrote an article encouraging people to download the data that they have on you. 

However, as I watched this advert, the optimist in me was pleasantly surprised.

Facebook Here Together CSR | Jason Wicks

The Facebook Here Together Advert

On the off chance you haven’t seen it, you can check it out below:

Now, I’m completely aware that this advert has divided opinion. However, for the sake of useful analysis, let’s look at what I like about it.

Transparency

Whether we like it or not, companies aren’t perfect. They all do things that we don’t like and every firm in the world have room for improvement. Obviously, Facebook have got a lot of stick recently, but they’ve still reacted differently to other companies with tarnished reputations.

By making this advert, Facebook are properly holding their hands up and admitting that they could’ve done better. Not only that, they’re pledging to do better in the future.

In a world where transparency is becoming more and more crucial, I don’t think we should take anything away from what Facebook have done.

Imagine if Primark made an advert about child labour? Imagine if BP made an advert about the environmental impacts of Fracking?

Let’s give Facebook some credit.

Accountability

Of course, Facebook have a reputation to protect. The viral ‘Delete Facebook’ hashtag probably harmed them a bit, but with this advert, they haven’t tried to hide.

Yes, Facebook didn’t have much of a leg to stand on, but many firms aren’t as vocal with their apologies.

How often do we see companies just ‘hoping it all blows over’, or releasing a public statement somewhere on a corporate media site, knowing full well it will never see the light of day.

Facebook Here Together | Jason Wicks

A PR Stunt?

As I said though, this campaign has split opinion.

Generally speaking, the main critique is that it’s all one big PR stunt, a last ditch attempt to win back public trust.

Realistically speaking, of course it is.

They have a reputation to repair, they have a business to run, and they need to keep customers onside. It’s only natural that they would make this kind of advert.

Because of this, the whole ‘PR stunt or not’ argument is almost not worth having.

Personally, this whole situation comes down to one thing.

Second Chances?

For me, this raises the question about how consumers react to societally undesirable behaviour.

For now at least, we can’t expect every business in the world to always be socially responsible. All we can do, is hope that they acknowledge what they could do better and strive to improve.

Whether they meant it or not, Facebook have made a pretty big pledge with this advert.

They’ve told the public that they’re going to do better, and they’ve effectively accepted the consequences should they fail to.

In my opinion, while companies have a responsibility to be good corporate citizens, customers have a responsibility to let them try.

Of course, if nothing changes then we have every right to shun Facebook from our lives. However, if they do genuinely improve, then surely it’s down to us to reward them? I think, in an ideal world, we want businesses and customers to work together, continuously improving over time.

Summary

Yes, Facebook are far from perfect.

Yes, their new advert is far from perfect.

But, we need to think slightly differently.

Remember, over 90% of the companies we buy from probably do something that we would consider undesirable. By adopting a sort of ‘zero tolerance’ approach to CSR, I think we’re basically abandoning any sense of pragmatism.

Instead, let’s criticise companies when they fail society, hold them accountable for their actions, and reward them when they change.

I’m confident that society will be better off as a result.


Learn More: While Facebook didn’t actually include it in the advert, here’s how they’re actually going to do better.


Hi! I’m an author and blogger within the fields of social impact and responsible business. I believe that businesses can be a force for good in the world, and this website contains my thoughts on how that can work.

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