Choose your Crisis Communications Fighter!

Facebook or Disney? I’ll take the mouse.

Kassandra Lopez, Global Strategic Communications graduate student at the University of Florida

Facebook made very poor decisions in addressing their 2018 scandal. This situation was when a huge data breach of their platform was exposed. Facebook’s first mistake was taking so long to admit to it. At the time articles were coming out for days asking for a response from the company. They chose to not address the public concerns and instead,” the leadership team maintained their silence until the crisis entered its fifth day — more than 15 minutes is typically considered too long to respond.” (Fisher, Adam).

When they did respond, their second mistake was that they were not apologetic in their tone., instead they remained cryptic. ““I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago.” (Newton) If he’d stopped his comments at that statement it would have been far better than his ending statements, which over apologize. “But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.WE KNOW THAT THIS WAS A MAJOR VIOLATION OF PEOPLES’ TRUST.” (Newton)

Over confessing is described as when “Management turns public statements into therapeutic sessions in which they unburden themselves of pent-up frustrations.” Doorley, J., & Garcia, H. F.) Subsequently, many young people left the platform in fears of how their data was being handled. This scandal has negatively impacted Facebook, and also opened the public’s eyes to how vulnerable their data is.

While I have criticized Facebook’s response for not being timely, and for lacking the correct ton, Disney has done the opposite when responding to their own crisis. Bob Iger, Disney’s former CEO quickly took to social media to address a social media scandal that was actively brewing on social media. Disney was being scrutinized by the public for fining an elementary school parent’s group $250 for hosting an unapproved screening of The Lion King to raise money for their school.

The news and social media platforms went after Disney for fining the group, the consensus was it was an innocuous action on part of the parent’s group, and they should not be facing those consequences. (Aten, 2020) Disney was within their rights when in fining the group, keep in mind those large green FBI warnings prior to movies playing do count for something!

Bob Iger quickly took to the social media platform Twitter, where the company was being attacked the most and issued an apology with a sincere tone. Iger also chose to contribute to the parent group’s fundraiser. The timeliness and tone of his response ended this crisis before it had time to adversely impact Disney. It is notable the Iger did not over confess, his approach was tactful. This was truly in line with Disney’s wholesome brand image that caters to families.

First-gen Cuban and Argentine. Full-time Marketer. BA in Humanities/Cultural Traditions, Art History + Anthro. MA in Global Communications + Social Media